Tattoos are a beautiful art form through which we can express ourselves. But imagine if they could be used for something more important than cosmetics — our health.
Thanks to advancements in technology, a future in which tattoos can be used as a diagnostic tool may not be far off. Scientists in Germany have developed a permanent mood ring of sorts, only this one would help people track aspects of their health.
Researcher Ali K. Yetisen and his colleagues at the Technical University of Munich created dermal sensors that can be injected into the skin in place of tattoo ink. The resulting tattoos appeal to the eye and can detect potential problems.
The sensors change colors in response to biomarkers, or biological indicators of changes in health. These include blood pH as well as glucose and albumin levels. So, for example, people who have diabetes could check their blood sugar level without constantly having to prick themselves. That’s a game-changer!
While the scientists have only tested the sensors on patches of pig skin so far, the results look promising. When they tweaked any of the three biomarkers mentioned above, the pigmented areas changed colors accordingly.
Dermal Abyss, a group of scientists from MIT and Harvard, developed a similar concept a few years ago, replacing tattoo ink with biosensors that changed colors in response to chemical changes in the body. With more time and development, this could become a long-term, inexpensive way to monitor a patient’s health and save lives!
What an incredible innovation from the medical world! Here’s hoping the sensors eventually work well enough to hit the market. Would you get your own health-tracking tattoo if you had the chance?
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