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Sweat sensor helps with sports and detects cardiovascular problems
Regardless of whether it is physical exertion, extreme heat, excitement or stress - sweat is a constant, if not always welcome, companion for people. The body fluid fulfills vital tasks. It regulates the body temperature, protects against overheating and maintains the acid coat of the skin. In addition, toxins are removed from the body with sweat. A new sweat sensor was recently presented that reads important information from the body fluid and can thus make a major contribution to sport and health.
A research team from the Brandenburg University of Technology Cottbus-Senftenberg developed a textile-based sensor that reads important information from sweat in real time. More precisely: the sensor measures the so-called lactal value in sweat. This value gives a conclusion about the individual metabolic situation and shows when the muscle activity threatens to wane. This is crucial not only in sports, but also for people with heart disease.
What is lactate?
We take in oxygen through breathing. An increased amount of it is needed during intense exertion. If the available oxygen is not sufficient to meet the energy requirements of the muscles, the body forms the metabolite lactate, which has an acid-promoting effect. Lactate is transported out of the body via sweat and can therefore be detected using appropriate sensors.
Which lactate levels are normal?
"Anyone who has ever run a stadium round as quickly as possible will notice at some point that the movements no longer work and cramps occur," explains research director Professor Dr. Sven Michel in a press release. The lactic acid value is then between 12 and 20 mmol per liter of blood. This is ten times higher than the normal lactate level of an adult, which is usually below 1.8 mmol per liter of blood, the expert explains.
What does the lactate value say about the body?
If the lactate level is too high, this is a sign that human muscle activity is waning. "If the individual maximum lactate value is known, training effects can be set out precisely," explains research director Professor Dr. Sven Michel in a press release. According to the research team, the sensor can specifically help in burning fat and improving muscle performance, since it enables the conditioning of buffering capacities in the metabolism.
The sensor also makes a contribution to people with heart problems
The sweat sensor is not only intended for use in sporting activities. People with cardiovascular diseases can also benefit from it. Because with certain heart diseases similar basic values of lactate can be determined, which arise in healthy people only with physical exertion. "You can imagine how strenuous everyday life must be in these cases," emphasizes Professor Michel.
Sensor should be available in about two years
The project is funded by the Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy. Together with the Institute for Textile Machinery and High Performance Textile Technology at the Technical University of Dresden, the research team now plans to develop suitable textiles that contain the lactate sensor within the next two years. (vb)