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Electromagnetic Wearable Sensors: A Solution to Non-Invasive Real-Time Monitoring of Biological Markers during Exercise

Greene, J (2021) Electromagnetic Wearable Sensors: A Solution to Non-Invasive Real-Time Monitoring of Biological Markers during Exercise. Doctoral thesis, Liverpool John Moores University.

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Wearable sensing technology enables greater insights into the performance and health status of athletes during training and competition, which are currently unattainable through traditional laboratory-based techniques. The process of collecting accurate data from complex metabolic parameters usually requires the use of specialised equipment and methods that are often expensive and invasive. This research proposes the novel use of a purpose-built electromagnetic (EM) sensor to non-invasively detect biological markers in humans during exercise. Three parameters were selected for investigation: sweat sodium, blood lactate, and skeletal muscle glycogen. Each of these parameters were selected based on their significance to athletic performance monitoring, as well as their current methods of analysis being impractical for real-time monitoring during exercise. Four human studies and two in-vitro sample-based studies were conducted, accumulating in 140 sweat samples, 523 blood lactate samples, and 21 glycogen samples, collected from a combined total of 71 participants, 56 males, and 15 females. The research presented within this thesis demonstrated that a hairpin EM sensor operating at microwave frequencies could detect and measure changes in sodium concentration within human sweat samples at 1.6 GHz (R2 = 0.862). Further sensor development is required for on-subject monitoring of sweat sodium during exercise (R2 = 0.149), findings suggest this was a result of the microwave sensor’s design, rather than sensing capabilities. Additionally, the sensor was shown to measure blood lactate concentration in untrained participants at 3.4-3.6 GHz (R2 = 0.78), and within endurance-trained participants at 3.2-3.8 GHz (R2 = 0.757). Furthermore, results showed that the sensor could detect changes in glycogen sample concentration at 2.11 GHz (R2 = 0.87) and monitor skeletal muscle glycogen in humans when concentrations were grouped into exercise specific ranges at 2.0-2.25 GHz (R2 = 0.91). This research presents an accurate, cost-effective, and efficient method of detecting biological markers non-invasively and continuously during exercise. With future research and development, a single microwave sensor could ultimately lead to improvements in human performance monitoring, enabling individualised and real-time fuelling strategies during training and competition. Further assessment of this technology is needed within a real-world setting to understand if this remains a feasible solution outside of a controlled environment.

Item Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Uncontrolled Keywords: Electromagnetic Sensing; Microwave Sensing; Wearable technology; Non-Invasive; Biomedical Engineering; Sport and Exercise; Human Performance; Glycogen; Lactate; Sodium
Subjects: Q Science > QM Human anatomy
R Medicine > RC Internal medicine > RC1200 Sports Medicine
T Technology > T Technology (General)
Divisions: Civil Engineering & Built Environment
Date Deposited: 15 Apr 2021 09:07
Last Modified: 30 Aug 2022 15:53
DOI or ID number: 10.24377/LJMU.t.00014802
Supervisors: Abdullah, B
URI: https://researchonline.ljmu.ac.uk/id/eprint/14802
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