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New Technology Uses a Sensor to Scan Hormones for Reproductive Health Problems

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Researchers at the Imperial College London and the University of Hong Kong have worked together to come up with a sensor technology that will scan for reproductive health problems. This sensor will measure hormones that play a role in sexual development, fertility, menstruation, and many other factors. Moreover, it can be produced and used very quickly and cheaply when compared to the current techniques used for these purposes.

The results of the research into the reproductive health problems sensor were published in the Nature Communications journal. The research itself took place at the School of Biomedical Sciences at the University of Hong Kong, and at the Chemistry Department at Imperial College London. The sensor was then tested on patients at Hammersmith Hospital, which is a part of Imperial College Healthcare NHS Trust.

Spotting Reproductive Health Problems

Severe reproductive health problems are becoming increasingly commonplace, particularly among women. In England, where much of this research took place, it is estimated that one third of women are suffering from issues within this category, such as early menopause or infertility.

To diagnose these types of reproductive health problems, doctors will typically need to conduct blood tests to measure luteinizing hormone (LH) levels. That said, current blood tests don’t easily measure the movements of LH as they rise and fall. That, however, is a vital capability in being able to identify normal fertility. The rising and falling is known as LH pulse patterns. When they occur, they can signal reproductive disorders.

At the moment, doctors do not have the ability to measure the LH pulse patterns. It would require a blood sample to be drawn every ten minutes for a minimum of eight consecutive hours. Moreover, the process of actually analyzing the samples is a time consuming and costly one as it must be done in a lab.

New Robotic Reproductive Health Problems Sensor

The researchers developed a new biosensor connected with a robotic system to spot reproductive health problems. They called it the Robotic APTamer-enabled Electrochemical Reader (RAPTER). It has the capacity to monitor patient hormone levels in real-time. The prototype from the study was shown to measure patient LH levels in the blood every ten minutes in order to provide an instant result.

The researchers believe this could be the foundation for a new strategy in personalized medicine, particularly when it comes to reproductive health problems. They are hopeful that this tech will also provide a clearer understanding of LH pulse patterns so more effective treatments can be recommended for meeting an individual’s unique needs.