Medical Research Council - London Institute of Medical Sciences

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Sweat Patches
12 December 2016

Sweat Patches

Sweat – it helps to stop the body overheating, it creates unsightly underarm stains on clothing, and it stings when it trickles into a person’s eyes. It also contains a wealth of valuable health and fitness information that scientists are just now beginning to tap into. The stick-on monitor on the unusually sweaty forearm pictured, for example, can detect both the rate and volume that a person perspires as well as the sweat’s acidity (an indicator of hydration state), and its concentration of lactate, glucose and chloride ions, which can detect exercise intolerance, hypoglycemia, and electrolyte imbalance among other things. Each of these parameters is detected via colour changes of specific parts of the patch –the dots and squiggly lines. Thus assessing a person’s sweat is as simple as photographing the patch with a smart phone and analysing the data with image processing software. Never has perspiration been so informative.

Written by Ruth Williams

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