Researchers at Northwestern University have invented a technology that makes it easier to detect and analyse the weak biochemical signals in communication between molecules in the human body. The constantly exchanging signals are capable of providing unique biological insight into a range of bodily functions, but are difficult to grasp due to their inverse faintness. NWU’s technique amplifies the signals by over 1,000 times, through the use of transistors that can provide an amplified output using the building blocks of electronics. The breakthrough could pave the way for on-site, real-time monitoring of complex and difficult to diagnose health problems. “The big vision is to implement our concept into implantable biosensors or wearable devices that can both sense a problem and then respond to it,” said Northwestern’s Jonathan Rivnay. Although successful tested using cytokines to assess wound healing and possible infection, the device should be able to amplify any chemical, hormone or antibiotic detection scheme which uses electrochemical modules to report.

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