The days of subjective visual examinations for atopic dermatitis could soon be behind us. The advent of digital health is paving the way for an exciting era of objective, at-home care for atopic dermatitis patients. This article explores current atopic dermatitis monitoring practices and highlights the potential of electromagnetic sensing technologies in atopic dermatitis care.
- Atopic dermatitis is a common skin disorder often monitored through subjective in-person visual examinations.
- Digital health advancements promise a future of precise, at-home monitoring for atopic dermatitis patients.
- New technologies such as radio frequency reflectometry and optical spectroscopy hold potential for atopic dermatitis monitoring.
- These technologies offer an objective, affordable, and practical approach to atopic dermatitis care, facilitating personalized treatment.
Those living with atopic dermatitis (AD), commonly known as eczema, understand the unique challenges it presents. AD affects about one in every five children globally, according to a review published in the journal Sensors. And, currently, there’s no universally accepted treatment method for this condition. Treatment plans may vary between dermatologists and institutions, which can leave patients navigating an uncertain path to relief.
Current Monitoring Practices: Limitations and Drawbacks
Currently, AD is mainly monitored through in-person visual examinations by specialists. This approach carries the risk of subjectivity, which affects a doctor’s treatment decisions. Examination methods such as biopsy, tape stripping, and blood testing are available, but they’re not typically used due to their invasive nature. In addition, for some patients, getting to appointments to see a doctor can be difficult due to location or mobility problems.
Electromagnetic Sensing: The Future of AD Monitoring?
Emerging technologies like radio frequency reflectometry and optical spectroscopy, which measure properties related to the skin’s health, offer a ray of hope. These methods evaluate the skin’s water loss level, a key indicator of AD. They also measure the skin’s elasticity and permittivity, providing better insight into the severity of the condition.
While these technologies are promising, they still have limitations. Current versions of these devices may be bulky or expensive, but research into optimizing these technologies is ongoing. With future development and improvements, affordable, easy-to-use devices for at-home monitoring could become available.
Toward Personalized, At-Home Care
Imagine a future where a wearable device alerts you to an impending AD flare-up, allowing you to proactively manage your AD from the comfort of your home. This vision isn’t too far off, as advancements in digital health technologies continue to be made.
These devices could potentially alleviate many current challenges in AD care by offering a more personalized approach. Through continuous at-home monitoring, you and your healthcare providers may better understand your unique symptom patterns.
While in-person visual examinations are the current standard for AD monitoring, the digital health revolution promises an exciting future. Continued research in this field may soon make personalized, at-home AD monitoring a reality, which could mean a brighter future for millions affected by this skin disorder.
Todorov, A., Torah, R., Ardern-Jones, M. R., & Beeby, S. (2023). Electromagnetic Sensing Techniques for Monitoring Atopic Dermatitis—Current Practices and Possible Advancements: A Review. Sensors, 23(8), 3935. https://doi.org/10.3390/s23083935