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Papers of the Week

Papers: 1 May 2021 - 7 May 2021

Human Studies


2021 Apr

Sci Adv



Editor's Pick

A skin-conformable wireless sensor to objectively quantify symptoms of pruritus.


Chun K S, Kang YJ, Lee J Y, Nguyen M, Lee B, Lee R, Jo H H, Allen E, Chen H, Kim J, Yu L, Ni X, Lee KH, Jeong H, Lee J, Park Y, Chung H U, Li AW, Lio PA, Yang AF, et al.
Sci Adv. 2021 Apr; 7(18).
PMID: 33931455.


Itch is a common clinical symptom and major driver of disease-related morbidity across a wide range of medical conditions. A substantial unmet need is for objective, accurate measurements of itch. In this article, we present a noninvasive technology to objectively quantify scratching behavior via a soft, flexible, and wireless sensor that captures the acousto-mechanic signatures of scratching from the dorsum of the hand. A machine learning algorithm validated on data collected from healthy subjects ( = 10) indicates excellent performance relative to smartwatch-based approaches. Clinical validation in a cohort of predominately pediatric patients ( = 11) with moderate to severe atopic dermatitis included 46 sleep-nights totaling 378.4 hours. The data indicate an accuracy of 99.0% (84.3% sensitivity, 99.3% specificity) against visual observation. This work suggests broad capabilities relevant to applications ranging from assessing the efficacy of drugs for conditions that cause itch to monitoring disease severity and treatment response.