Eileen Brobbin

Eileen is a second year PhD researcher at King’s College London in the Addiction department. Her research focuses on exploring wearable transdermal alcohol sensors within the clinical and public populations. Her PhD projects hope to assess new generation transdermal alcohol sensor devices’ accuracy, acceptability and feasibility.

She completed an undergraduate in Psychology in 2016 at the University of Exeter, a PG certificate in Person-Centred Counselling in 2017 at the University of East Anglia, and an MSc in Addiction Studies 2018 at King’s College London. Eileen has previously worked as a research assistant at King’s College London on a large scale, multi-site RCT trial, working with the alcohol dependent population.

Eileen’s areas of interest include: alcohol dependency and treatment, digital technology, wearable devices.

Accuracy of transdermal alcohol sensors: A systematic review

Aims: We aim to assess the accuracy of current available transdermal alcohol sensors (TAS)
Methods: A systematic search was conducted of the CINAHL, EMBASE, Google Scholar, MEDLINE, PsycINFO, PubMed and Scopus bibliographic databases in February 2021. Two members of the study team independently screened studies for inclusion, extracted data and assessed risk of bias. The study methodological quality was appraised using the Mixed Methods Appraisal Tool. The primary outcome was TAS accuracy. The data is presented as a narrative synthesis.
Results: We identified and analysed 32 studies. Study designs include: laboratory and ambulatory, mixed and RCTs and the length the device was worn ranged from days to weeks. Five of the studies included used more than one brand of TAS. Results for transdermal alcohol concentration data from various TAS were generally found to be positively correlated with BrAC/BAC and self-report. The WrisTAS and BACtrack prototype reported higher malfunctions and noise within data files compared to SCRAM however these devices also report a reduced time lag for transdermal alcohol concentration output than SCRAM. We also found the addition of other TAS devices being developed.
Conclusions: There is a lack of research investigating the accuracy of TAS as a tool to monitor alcohol consumption within clinical populations over extended periods of time. While there is some preliminary evidence suggesting the accuracy of these devices this needs to be further investigated within real-world contexts with clinical populations. Future studies also need to assess the accuracy of future TAS device generations.