These US Scientists Want To Make A Blood-Powered Device For Real-time Diagnosis

Researchers at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Centre have made a substantial contribution to the field of medicine for underprivileged populations by developing an innovative, portable diagnostic tool that analyses blood conductivity to identify metabolic diseases.

The University of Pittsburgh claims that this technology will transform healthcare by making quick and easy diagnostics possible, ultimately leading to better patient outcomes. Amir Alavi, an assistant professor at Pitt’s Swanson School of Engineering, highlighted the potential of devices that function as labs on a chip.

“As the fields of nanotechnology and microfluidics continue to advance, there is a growing opportunity to develop lab-on-a-chip devices capable of surrounding the constraints of modern medical care,” Alavi explained. “These technologies could transform healthcare by offering quick and convenient diagnostics, ultimately improving patient outcomes and the effectiveness of medical services.”

Real-time monitoring can be hard with traditional diagnostic techniques since they are frequently labor-intensive, invasive, and time-consuming, especially in rural locations. As a result of the drawn-out approach, many patients go undiagnosed. However, the new device employs a blood sample for triboelectrification—a process in which elements inside the device rub against one another to cause electron transfer and charge generation to detect blood conductivity and produce a minimal quantity of electricity.

Since glucose and electrolyte levels affect blood conductivity, the device can identify metabolic problems quickly and accurately. Dr. Alan Wells, the medical director of UPMC Clinical Laboratories, explained, “Blood is basically a water-based environment that has various molecules that conduct or impede electric currents. Glucose, for example, is an electrical conductor. We are able to see how it affects conductivity through these measurements, allowing us to make a diagnosis on the spot.”

Thanks to the portable millifluidic nanogenerator lab-on-a-chip, which measures blood at low frequencies, there is no need for a typical lab setup. The device’s inbuilt triboelectric nanogenerator (TENG) employs blood as a conductive material. “The proposed blood-based TENG system can convert mechanical energy into electricity via triboelectrification,” the researchers noted.

Comparisons with typical tests confirmed the device’s accuracy, which was successful. Based on local blood chemistry, this blood-powered nanogenerator enables self-powered diagnostics wherever blood circulates in the body.

This study shows the device’s transformational potential by enabling efficient and accessible medical diagnostics in underprivileged areas. It was published in the journal Advanced Materials.

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