Scientists Discover New Way To Detect Diseases—With Our Tears
By Nicole Rodrigues, 23 Jul 2022
People who are in emotional discomfort often cry. It’s often an expression of feelings—including sadness, fear, and even rage—but what if it’s also an indicator of our physical health? Scientists have learned that a person’s tears can be used to diagnose illnesses, according to a study published in ACS Nano.
Researchers have discovered that our bodies’ cellular signals are transmitted in tiny informational sacs called tears. Tears, also known as exosomes, are similar to other body fluids that contain disease indicators. Blood and urine are commonly used to check for the presence of diseases.
The Wenzhou Medical University in China conducted the study. The team’s theory was that tears might provide doctors with a fresh perspective on their patients. The goal of the ‘iTEARS’ initiative was to provide greater, non-intrusive insight into people’s health.
While it may seem like a straightforward way to gather answers, the team intended to further simplify the process. Diagnosis frequently entails taking blood, performing physical exams, or collecting urine samples. The iTEARS experiment, which stands for ‘Incorporated Tear Exosomes Analysis via Rapid-isolation Systems,’ was able to employ only a small number of the teardrops required for the investigation.
They gathered just a few drops of the study participants’ tears before adding them to a solution. The liquid was then put into a machine that, within five minutes, employed nanoporous membranes to filter the sample and read its findings.
They discovered that several eye conditions had left distinctive patterns in tears. In fact, as the researchers dug deeper into the study, they uncovered that they could even track the evolution of diabetes.
According to Luke Lee, a Harvard Medical School coauthor of the study, the group intends to advance the research even further and shed light on depression and other mental states using teardrops.
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