Most all of us by now have heard of know someone that is using a ‘wearing’ glucose device such as Libre, Dexcom or Guardian sensors. This technology provides continuous glucose data without the drudgery of fingersticks. What if knowing your glucose levels was as simple as wearing a necklace or bracelet!!  

Jewelry of the future may be used not only as a fashion accessory, but also to monitor aspects of a person’s health, thanks to new research from The Ohio State University. Researchers there have developed a device that can be worn around the neck to monitor a person’s glucose levels from sweat excreted when he or she exercises. The so-called “smart necklace” includes a typical clasp and pendant, but also features a battery-free, wireless biochemical sensor that is used to measure blood sugar through perspiration. 

Researchers tested the necklace on study participants who engaged in indoor cycling for 30 minutes and then took a 15-minute break in which they drank sugar-sweetened beverages before getting back to the bikes. 

The results of the sensor demonstrated that it could pick up the rise in glucose levels that resulted from drinking the sweet beverage, which scientists believe is promising for its potential to pick up other chemical biomarkers in sweat as well.  

Who knew ‘sweat’ could be so informative?  

“Sweat actually contains hundreds of biomarkers that can reveal very important information about our health status,” Jinghua Li, assistant professor of materials science and engineering at Ohio State. “The next generation of biosensors will be so highly bio-intuitive and non-invasive that we’ll be able to detect key information contained in a person’s body fluids.” 

Scientists are finding human perspiration a useful natural component for novel wearable-device design. A research team from Penn State University already has used sweat to measure glucose with the development of a non-invasive patch-like sensor made with a nickel-gold alloy. Meanwhile, engineers at the University of California (UC) San Diego developeda wearable microgrid that harvests energy from various renewable sources—including perspiration—to power small electronic devices. 

Moreover, the devices being developed didn’t need much sweat to measure a participants’ blood sugar. While the smart necklace is not yet available, the future of ‘smart jewelry’ is very promising.  

I am thankful for new technology that lightens the burden of diabetes.  

Live Long, Live Healthy!  

Dr. Julie Wood is a Nurse Practitioner and has been serving the Middle Tennessee area for more than 30 years, specializing in adults with obesity, prediabetes and diabetes. Office is located at 401 First Avenue, Mt. Pleasant, TN and statewide with telehealth. Dr. Wood can be reached at 931-325-5560,,  

Articles are meant to be informative and should never replace the advice of your health care provider.