Posted: March 27, 2012 by Wildcat in Uncategorized
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UK Pharmacy to Sell Pill with Ingestible Microchip

A few years ago, a report by the New England Healthcare Institute claimed that patients not taking their medications as prescribed incur a staggering US $290 billion in increased medical costs – or about 13 percent of total US health expenditures. Technology reaching drug store shelves later this year in the UK and which is under review in the US could help cut the costs significantly. First, a little background. About a year before the Institute’s report came out in 2009, there was an article in MIT’s Technology Review magazine about a Silicon Valley start-up company calledProteus Biomedical that was developing a microchip about the size of a grain of sand called an “ingestible event marker” (IEM). It was to be embedded within a pill and swallowed along with a patient’s medicine. The IEM, reported the TR article, consists of:

“… a thin-film battery that is activated on ingestion, as it is exposed to water. The battery, Proteus says, is nontoxic because it is made from materials similar to those in a vitamin pill. Once swallowed, the IEM sends through the body’s tissues a high-frequency electrical current that’s modulated in such a way that it provides a unique marker of the pill. It’s not an RFID technology: it uses the conductive tissues of the body to conduct the signal, rather than a radio, and the signal is confined within the body.”

The high-frequency current is picked up by a disposable monitoring patch worn by the patient or a monitor placed under their skin. The monitoring system is able to discern biophysical parameters such as a patient’s heart rate, respiration, body posture as well as sleeping patterns. The information can then be transmitted to a patient’s cell phone or the computer of the patient’s physician. Based on what the physician is seeing, he or she might decided to change dosages or change medications altogether.

via logicianmagician:

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