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WEARABLES SENSORS FOR MONITORING SUBSTANCE USE DISORDER PATIENTS
thesisposted on 11.03.2021, 19:18 by Orlando Sanguinette Hoilett
Substance use disorder is an increasing concern in the United States and abroad. In 2017, the CDC reported that over 70 thousand people died from a drug overdose, a greater than 10% increase in drug overdose related deaths compared to 2016. As a result, developing new technologies to treat substance use disorder is a major public health priority. In response to this need, I am engineering new portable health monitoring devices, capable of detecting substance use and facilitating treatment and intervention. I have two major approaches. My first approach is the continuous monitoring of select vital signs as indirect measures of substance use and drug overdose. Drug use is known to affect cardiopulmonary activity, making the continuous monitoring of heart rate, respiration, and blood oxygen possible indirect measures of drug use. Additionally, opioid-overdose is known to cause respiratory rate depression, making respiratory rate monitoring critical for detecting opioid overdose. I have developed a smartwatch capable of accurately measuring heart rate, respiration, and respiratory rate depression and have validated the device with a known reference standard. My second approach is to detect the presence of drugs in sweat. I am utilizing a DNA aptamer-based biosensor that generates an electrical current when a target drug is present in the sweat. The generated electrical current is sensed by a custom-designed, sensing circuit and analyzed by an on-board processor. I have shown a proof-of-concept of the wearable sweat-based biosensor by detecting micromolar concentrations of cocaine in bulk solutions with the aptamer-based biosensor and my custom-designed miniaturized sensing device. I envision that by combining the vital signs monitor and the sweat-based biosensor, I can help improve outpatient rehabilitative care by helping clinicians understand the substance use habits of their patient population and facilitate real-time psychological and ambulatory intervention.