Color-Changing Tattoos Might Change How We Monitor Health Issues

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Monitoring your health might get a lot easier thanks to technology being developed by a team of researchers in Germany.

Color-Changing Tattoos Might Change How We Monitor Health Issues

Monitoring your health might get a lot easier thanks to technology being developed by a team of researchers in Germany. As described in a recently published article, scientists have now developed tattoos which change color according to a body’s levels of glucose and albumin or its pH. That would allow patients with illnesses such as kidney disease or diabetes to keep track of their health without taking constant blood samples.


These tattoos work thanks to dermal sensors applied to tattoo ink. When the tattoo is applied to the skin, it’ll change color according to changes in specific health indicators. For instance, the pH indicator causes a tattoo to move from yellow to blue as pH changes from five to nine. The other two indicators—albumin and glucose—are relevant for diabetics and patients with kidney disease.


Since albumin carries protein in the blood, lowered levels may indicate kidney or liver issues. High glucose levels, on the other hand, can indicate diabetic issues. The albumin indicator works to turn the tattoo from yellow to green thanks to a dye which takes on a green color when in contact with albumin protein. The glucose indicator is based on an enzymatic reaction, which changes the pigment from yellow to dark green depending on the patient’s glucose levels.


By weaving those dyes into regular tattoo designs, patients would be offered an aesthetically pleasing and non-invasive way to monitor their health, long-term. The tattoos have been tested only on pig skin, that is commonly used by tattoo artists as a practice material. Similar technology was suggested by MIT researchers in 2017, although their biosensors glowed in the dark according to pH and sodium levels.


Color-Changing Tattoos Might Change How We Monitor Health Issues

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There are still hurdles to overcome if the color-changing tattoos are to make an impact on the medical world. Only one of the three tattoos was reversible. Though the pH sensor can shift over and over again, the albumin and glucose tattoos can only shift once. Through further research, scientists hope to make all the tattoos reversible using synthetic receptors.


Color-Changing Tattoos Might Change How We Monitor Health Issues

Color-Changing Tattoos Might Change How We Monitor Health Issues

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Thinking Humanity: Color-Changing Tattoos Might Change How We Monitor Health Issues
Color-Changing Tattoos Might Change How We Monitor Health Issues
Monitoring your health might get a lot easier thanks to technology being developed by a team of researchers in Germany.
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