Wearing such a portable instrument to monitor metabolism might be one of the results of collaborative research being performed at the University of Houston and The Methodist Hospital.
University of Houston Physics Professor John Miller recently received a three-year, $623,425 exploratory research grant from the National Institutes of Health and the National Science Foundation to develop biosensors for energy balance and obesity.
Miller is targeting metabolic syndrome, a pernicious complication of obesity that affects about 20 percent of obese individuals and greatly increases the likelihood of diabetes, heart disease and cancer. His long-term goal is to develop innovative technologies that detect metabolic activity for research and clinical applications.
"Although drug treatments for metabolic syndrome exist, the cost of drugs to treat all obese individuals is prohibitive," Miller said. "Therefore, there is a critical public health need to develop technologies that can provide early diagnosis of metabolic syndrome and enable cost-effective treatment, as well as to measure metabolic activity and other components of energy balance in obese patients."