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Wireless Skin Patch Sensors Enable Real-Time Study of Addiction and Stress
For release: September 10, 2007
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The University of Memphis has received a nationally competitive $1.6 million grant from the National Institutes of Health (NIH) to develop a wireless skin patch sensor system, “AutoSense,” which will allow scientists to collect real-time data on exposures to addiction and psychosocial stress in individuals’ natural environments.

A multidisciplinary team of researchers is collaborating on this innovative effort. The U of M team consists of Dr. Santosh Kumar, the principal investigator, from computer science, Dr. Satish Kedia from anthropology, and Dr. Kenneth Ward from health and sport sciences; a neuroscientist, Dr. Mustafa al’Absi, at the University of Minnesota; an electrical engineer, Dr. Emre Ertin, from The Ohio State University; and several biomedical and materials scientists from SpectRx Inc.

“AutoSense will significantly advance the state-of-the-art in behavioral sciences studies that are still dominated by patient self-reports and in-lab studies, neither of which provides accurate, real-life data,” said Kumar. “By applying the wireless sensor network technology to important behavioral sciences questions, this project opens up opportunities for new scientific breakthroughs.”

Kedia, who directs the Institute for Substance Abuse Treatment Evaluation, said, “Currently there is no technology available to assess addictive behavior and its relationship to stress in real time. This multidisciplinary project has tremendous potential to take behavioral research to the next level of methodological sophistication.”

Ward, who directs the University of Memphis’ Center for Community Health, commented, “Abuse of psychoactive substances such as alcohol and nicotine causes hundreds of thousands of deaths each year in the U.S., but progress in prevention and treatment has been slowed by our crude measurement tools. This new technology is exciting because of its great potential to advance this field.”

Shaye Mandle, executive director of the FedEx Institute of Technology at the U of M, added, “This project represents an incredible step forward in addictions research, and it is a wonderful achievement for our faculty members. Most notably, this project highlights the strength of University of Memphis’ researchers in leading cross-collaborative research teams from corporations and other leading institutions.”

Additional information about AutoSense is available on the project’s Web site, http://autosense.memphis.edu.

The NIH announcement of the program is online at: http://www.nih.gov/news/pr/sep2007/nhgri-04.htm.

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Last updated: 03/20/2008 15:40:44
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