Biosensor alerts extreme athletes to overexertion

July 26, 2013

Topic: physical therapy

Biosensor monitors athletes' lactate levels

The American Chemical Society recently published a study that examined the first human tests of a new biosensor. The sensor, which is applied to athletes' skin like a temporary tattoo, lets the wearer know when they are about to "hit the wall." Researchers expressed hope that this technology also be used in the military to help soldiers keep track of their stamina. 

The biosensor monitors the amount of lactate that the athlete sweats out. According to the report, high levels of lactate indicates that muscles need more energy than the body has in the aerobic respiration that is enough in moderate exercise. Athletes can use lactic acid and lactate for a period of time, but eventually it causes overexertion and the body gives up. 

The National Institutes of Health notes than many who experience overexertion will later require procedures such as physical therapy. The ACS researchers tested their biosensor on 10 athletes and found that it accurately measured lactate levels in each one. Should the sensor continue to be accurate, it will be a huge jump from the lengthy tests that are currently required to measure lactate in individuals. 

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