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Cincinnati is at the forefront of sweat

Cincinnati is at the forefront of studying chemicals in sweat and what it could mean for your health

By: Kristyn Hartman, 9-WCPO Cincinnati

September 24, 2018

CINCINNATI -- Dr. Jason Heikenfeld could be described as a sweat investigator.

The University of Cincinnati professor uses sensors to measure sweat, which can help monitor a variety of health components, from drugs in someone’s system to when a woman might be ovulating. 

Heikenfeld helped develop technology that measures chemicals in sweat from people’s abdomens, backs and forearms. The sensors measure different properties of sweat, because sweat picks up some of the smaller properties in the person’s bloodstream. 

“Sweat is a really rich biofluid,” Heikenfeld said. “It has biomarkers that tell you all about human physiology.” 

The device looks like a fitness band someone would wear on their arm, but it's no Fitbit; it's a gateway to sweat intelligence, and Cincinnati is on the leading edge globally. 

Heikenfeld said he first became introduced to studying sweat when researchers at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base wanted to monitor the performance of pilots. 

“We have 2,000 sensors on a plane, and only one on a pilot … the pilot is the performance bottleneck,” Heikenfeld said. “How can we monitor the pilot as well as we monitor the plane?” 

Scientists need to build sensors to sample the chemicals in sweat, and researchers must understand how to read the chemicals in order to measure its health applications, Heikenfeld said. 

The sensor was developed by Eccrine Systems, Inc., a Norwood-based company created from Heikenfeld’s research. 

CEO Gavi Begtrup said the sensor can tell a person whether they’re dehydrated, which could be useful for athletes or people who work in hot, physically demanding environments. 

Sweat loss is the major cause of dehydration in hot environments, Begtrup said… Full Article