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Purdue researchers develop diaper sensors to detect UTIs in babies and elderly


By Jesse Schwartz
Published: May 8th, 2019

Researchers at Purdue University have developed a disposable technology that can be placed in diapers to better detect urinary tract infections (UTIs) in babies and the elderly.

UTIs can be painful at any age, with burning sensations, frequent urges and pressure. But for babies and the elderly, who may not be able to communicate what is happening to their bodies, a UTI can be even more harmful. If left untreated, the infection can easily spread from the urinary tract to the kidneys and become more severe.

The Purdue researchers have created a diaper-embedded transponder that can check urine for nitrites, which are chemical compounds associated with UTIs.

“The transponder is autonomous, self-powered and provides accurate and timely information,” says Babak Ziaie, a professor at Purdue and co-developer of the technology. “It can easily be placed in a diaper and detect the presence of an infection.”

According to Ziaie, the device has two key advantages over current detection methods: “It does not require obtaining urine samples by the patient or their caregivers, and can help detect an infection in people who might not yet show symptoms.”

The research team worked with the Purdue Office of Technology Commercialization to patent the technology and is currently seeking additional partners to further develop the device, as well as companies interested in licensing it.

Source: Purdue Research Foundation News

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