Researchers at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology Lausanne (EPFL) have designed a wearable sensor that measures cortisol in human sweat. Cortisol is the “stress hormone.” Normally, cortisol levels fluctuate throughout the day, following a circadian rhythm. When dealing with certain diseases however, the circadian rhythm is disrupted.
“In people who suffer from stress-related diseases, this circadian rhythm is completely thrown off,” says Adrian Ionescu, head of EPFL’s Nanoelectronic Devices Laboratory (Nanolab) in a university release. “And if the body makes too much or not enough cortisol, that can seriously damage an individual’s health, potentially leading to obesity, cardiovascular disease, depression or burnout.”
Ionescu and his colleagues think their wearable could help doctors detect and treat this conditions and other cortisol-related diseases such as Cushing’s disease (too much cortisol) or Addison’s disease (not enough cortisol).