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Monday, July 23, 2012

Continuous Objective Monitoring of Alcohol Use: Twenty-First Century Measurement Using Transdermal Sensors

Transdermal alcohol sensors continuously collect reliable and valid data on alcohol consumption in vivo over the course of hours to weeks. Transdermal alcohol readings are highly correlated with breath alcohol measurements, but transdermal alcohol levels lag behind breath alcohol levels by one or more hours owing to the longer time required for alcohol to be expelled through perspiration. By providing objective information about alcohol consumption, transdermal alcohol sensors can validate self-report and provide important information not previously available.

In this article, we describe the development and evaluation of currently available transdermal alcohol sensors, present the strengths and limitations of the technology, and give examples of recent research using the sensors.

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