Small vibrating sensors based on piezoelectrically actuated resonant microsystems can detect disease or infection biomarkers using just a drop or two of blood. The sensitivity to changes in mass increases as the resonant frequency increases, making high-frequency resonators excellent candidates for biomarker detection.

A piezoelectrically actuated pipette system is used as an inexpensive means to detect biological molecules associated with specific diseases, infection or other medical conditions. Source: Purdue University A piezoelectrically actuated pipette system is used as an inexpensive means to detect biological molecules associated with specific diseases, infection or other medical conditions. Source: Purdue University The method developed at Purdue University is also much faster and less expensive than other types of diagnostic tests. The high-precision, piezoelectrically actuated pipette system improves sensor functionalization and biomarker exposure techniques.

One of the first uses for the test could be the early detection of traumatic brain injury in athletes, particularly high school football and soccer players. The method can detect minute amounts of proteins, including protein from glial cells, which surround neurons in the brain. The proteins are secreted in relatively high concentrations in cerebrospinal fluid of victims of traumatic brain injury. Prior studies have found that a small amount of fluid leaked through the blood-brain barrier and entered the bloodstream of victims.

The test also could be used for the early detection of Alzheimer’s disease and Parkinson’s disease. The researchers are looking for licensees to use the test to search for other small amounts of protein that are early signs of disease.

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