health matters

Future of Medicine Looms: "Take Two Microchips and Call Me in the Morning"

Posted by Mark J. Miller on August 2, 2012 12:03 PM

Nike has its FuelBand, the bracelet that tracks everything a “serious” athlete wants to know about so she or he can finish their workout and yap about whatever their NikeFuel number is at that moment. But soon people will have a whole new and much more invasive tracking system: one that you actually eat like a pill.

This new microchip the size of a grain of sand isn’t built for athletes who want bragging rights. The idea is to help the, well, unhealthy among us track their bodies better so doctors can know what the ill need on a regular basis. For someone who needs to take pills on a regular basis, the device can inform them when their body needs the medicine.

The FDA has just approved what PC World is calling a smart pill from Proteus Digital Health “that keeps track of your insides and relays that medical information back to your healthcare provider.” The so-called ingestible digital sensors are activated by mixing with the stomach’s digestive fluids and then transmitting to a patch on the patient’s skin, the site notes. The patch then sends "vital information about your medication-taking behaviors and how your body is responding" to the doctor or nurse’s mobile device.

It can only be used with placebo pills right now, but the company is hoping patients can start using the chip while taking actual medications soon, with diabetes, central nervous system treatments and transplant care on its immediate radar. Still, the inevitable privacy concern will arise that Big Doctor is watching you.

[Image VIA Shutterstock]

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