Electrochemical Sensors Detect Kidney Diseases

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Source: Freepik

Brazilian material scientist develops electrochemical sensors that can detect kidney diseases based on saliva samples.

Approximately 10% of the world’s population suffers from chronic kidney disease (CKD). However, since the kidneys are quite adaptable, they can compensate for any problems associated with damage to the organs. As a result, renal damage often goes unnoticed due to the absence of symptoms. A huge majority of cases are not discovered until it has reached an advanced stage, or by chance on detection of proteins or blood in the urine. Now, a team of researchers at TU Dresden have developed a novel method that can detect kidney diseases through saliva samples.

Chronic kidney disease results from a combination of conditions such as high blood pressure, high cholesterol, diabetes, infections, and even certain medications. Some patients develop a mild condition with no or few symptoms; others can develop kidney failure. Symptoms generally include weight loss, fatigue, swollen ankles or feet, shortness of breath, and an increase in urinary frequency, especially at night.  Although there is no cure for the disease, lifestyle changes coupled with medicines and dialysis can help relieve symptoms.

Sensors Detect Urea in Saliva

The Brazilian material scientist Dr. Maria Rita Ortega Vega collaborated with Prof. Stefan Kaskel and his team at TU Dresden for the new method. The project, titled ‘Nanostructured transition metal-based electrochemical sensor for salivary urea detection for kidney failure diagnostics’, aims to detect and quantify urea levels. However, unlike traditional methods that involve blood samples, the new method will rely on saliva samples.

The presence and amount of urea in saliva can be an indicator of kidney problems. With such a sensor, patients and doctors can get reliable results quickly and without blood testing.

Dr. Maria Rita Ortega Vega, researcher

Using electrochemical sensors, the researchers aim to facilitate the early diagnosis of renal problems. The team further believes that such a method can help evaluate dialysis performance on CKD patients. They are currently working on developing materials for their project.

Source: Technische Universitaet Dresden

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