February 14, 2012

Smart Technology: New, Innovative…Ingestible?

Filed under: iPhone app,science — @ 8:18 pm

Smart TechnologyThe British pharmaceutical company, Lloydspharmacy, in collaboration with Proteus Biomedical US based company, has launched a new “sensor-enabled tablet.” This new placebo pill, which is smaller than a grain of salt, monitors when a patient is due to take their prescription medicine, also taking into account their sleep and exercise levels.

With the many responsibilities over everyday life, it is easy to “lose track of whether or not you’ve taken the correct tablets that day,” says Steve Gray, health care services director of Lloydspharmacy. According to the World Health Organization, up to half of patients do not take their medications properly, putting their health at risk, and the annual cost of unused medication is estimated to be up to four hundred million pounds.

The sensors themselves are activated by stomach acid. The stomach acid creates an electric current. The digital signal device is attached like a bandage to the patient’s skin to monitor said patients heart rate, respiration and temperature. The patient’s health status is then sent to their cell phone.

The smart technology has been tested with patients requiring varied medications, from patients experiencing tuberculosis, to mental health issues, to heart failure, to hypertension and diabetes.

This new technological innovation isn’t the first ingestible sensory mechanism. In the 1980s, NASA developed an ingestible digestible thermometers to monitor an astronauts’ core temperature. Additionally, there are pills with camera’s inside, to monitor a patient’s digestive system for problems such as blood inside a patient’s lower colon.

Jonathon Cooper, a biomedical engineering researcher wonders if this is the best monitoring system. As he notes, sometimes external technology provides more accurate and cost effective results. Only time will tell if the public widely adopts this technology.

For more information on this new technology, please visit Scientific American.

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