#63: 💍 A Wearable Hormone Tracking Ring
Tracking hormone levels in sweat with non-invasive nanotechnology
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💬 In this note:
💍 A Wearable Hormone Tracking Ring
📚 Think and Grow Rich
⚡️ 2024 Pantone Color of the Year
💍 A Wearable Hormone Tracking Ring
Caption: A wireless sensor worn as a ring can detect hormone levels in a person’s sweat. Credit: Caltech
A research team from CalTech led by Wei Gao developed a ring-like wearable biosensor designed to monitor oestradiol, the female reproductive hormone, from human sweat, a groundbreaking achievement for women’s health.
This is a huge leap over traditional methods for tracking fertility which usually involve blood tests at clinics or sending samples to labs, both of which are time consuming and invasive.
While blood tests remain the gold standard, researchers are increasingly interested in other fluids that contain valuable health information.
Sweat has been of interest as it allows for non-invasive monitoring and constant feedback.
Developing sweat-based sensors has been a challenge for the last decade.
Scientists know that sweat contains clinical relevant biomarkers, however they are at extremely low concentrations.
I remember reading about a sweat-based biosensor developed at Stanford in 2018 to measure cortisol in sweat. As 5+ years later the product still hasn’t made it to the market should be an indicator of just how challenging it is to reliably measure hormone levels from sweat.
Furthermore, no previous sensors or wearable devices have been developed to specifically target reproductive hormones in sweat, despite the growing demand in women’s health for more information about menstrual cycles and fertility.
How does it work?
Aptamers are short pieces of single-stranded DNA or RNA that fold in specific shapes when they bind to targets, such as hormones or toxins.
The sensor combines an oestradiol-recognizing aptamer tagged with a dye that serves as an electrochemical probe, and a gold-nanoparticle electrode covered in a material called MXene, which enhances weak electrical signals.
The result is extraordinary sensitivity with an ultra-low limit of detection.
When the sensor is on the finger it generates a small current to jump-start sweat production, then draws the liquid into a tiny micro-fluidic reservoir.
As sweat fills the reservoir, the aptamers exchange the tagged dye for oestradiol, and the dye levels are measured by the electrode and translated into a final measurement.
The sensor can detect oestradiol from artificial sweat in 10 minutes.
The ring sensor also has built in sensors to measure skin temperature, pH and the salt concentration from sweat in order to calibrate the measurements in real time.
The sensor then connects to a mobile phone to display the results.
Real World Testing
The team provided a ring sensor to five women to monitor their menstrual cycles. Among these five, two also had blood tests at the same time to see if the results from the sweat matched.
For these two women, the test results from the ring and the blood tests correlated. They matched the typical pattern where oestradiol levels go up at the start of a menstrual cycle and reach their highest just before ovulation. There is also a smaller increase after an egg is released.
While this sample size is small, the results are promising. More experimentation to ensure that the technology holds up under different real-world conditions is necessary.
The ring sensor was originally developed to track menstrual cycles, but oestradiol is not only relevant in that use-case.
Oestradiol is also involved in modulating libido, erectile function and spermatogenesis. The sensor could also be useful in people undergoing hormone therapy too.
In theory, aptamers could be engineered to target almost anything. The team at CalTech is working on creating sensors that can track many hormones at the same time, including follicle-stimulating hormone, luteinizing hormone, gonadotropin-releasing hormone, and progesterone.
Now, the team is even moving towards making these sweat-based biosensors available for commercial use.
📚 Book of the Week
Think and Grow Rich by Napoleon Hill
Originally published in 1937 by author Napoleon Hill. The book preaches the learnings of Andrew Carneige, and describes the thirteen steps to riches.
It’s not a novel but a textbook on individual achievement on the direct experiences of hundreds of American men.
At the core, it’s all about mindset. If you want something, go get it and let nothing stop you.
Truly believe that you can do it, visualize yourself achieving it and have faith that it will happen.
You have to be absolutely convinced and it will work.
I agree with the principles in this book. It’s nearly a century old and it reiterates many principles I have heard over and over, about the power of belief and manifestation.
Most people are stuck in a “fixed” mindset and they can’t imagine continuing to learn, grow and achieve. If you are able to switch to a “growth mindset” where you believe that anything can be learned and achieved with dedication and practice, this is the foundation for manifesting greatness.
This book makes it clear that if you have a clear vision and believe that you can do it, then you can and you will.
⚡️ Check This Out
The Pantone Color Institute has announced the color of 2024.
Peach Fuzz was announced on December 7, 2023 in a webinar I attended for the very first time and all I can say is…WOW. Next year, it’s definitely worth an RSVP. They go. All. out.
Usually the color of the year is a vibrant color with a lot of pizzazz.
Last year’s color was “Viva Magenta.” and Pantone described it as “vibrating with vim and vigor.”
However, this year they went more neutral.
You know what, I’m into it.
Peach Fuzz is the soft, warm hug we all need.
After all the turmoil we have experienced over the last several years - the pandemic, the ongoing wars and political unrest, we need something cozy.
Let’s bring this nurturing color with us into 2024.
Edited by Wright Time Publishing