Researchers have made an electronic skin patch that can monitor muscle movement, store the data it collects and use stored data patterns to decide when to deliver medicine through the skin. The patch could be useful for monitoring and treating Parkinson's disease and epilepsy, its creators say.
Wearable devices that continuously monitor physiological cues can help doctors understand and treat diseases such as epilepsy, heart failure and Parkinson's. A few research groups have been trying to develop discreet health monitoring devices based on skin-for-a-cyborg-you">flexible, stretchable electronics that can be plastered on the skin, heart or brain.
But the new system is the first that can store data and deliver drugs, says Dae-Hyeong Kim, a chemical and biological engineering professor at Seoul National University and one of the device's creators. In the "closed-loop feedback system," says Kim, the stored data is used for statistical pattern analysis, which helps to track symptoms and drug response. "For more quantitative tracking of progression of symptoms and responses to medications, wearable healthcare devices that monitor important cues, store recorded data, and deliver feedback therapeutic agents via the human skin in a controlled way are highly required," he says.