February 14, 2012

Smart Technology: New, Innovative…Ingestible?

Filed under: iPhone app,science — drwatson @ 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.

June 10, 2009

Your own DNA on your iPhone?

Filed under: DNA,Illumina,iPhone,iPhone app,Uncategorized — drwatson @ 5:26 pm

Want your DNA sequenced? Well now it will only put you back about $48,000, incredibly this is half of what it used to cost you.

This service is being offered by a San Diego biotechnology company call Illumina. The whole process of even getting your DNA is quite the ordeal. First you must sit down with a physician and get a prescription. You must wait for a specific amount of time to go by; this is most likely to allow you to think, “Hmm, do I really need to be spending $48,000 to get my DNA sequenced?”If you do come to the conclusion that you have quite a substantial amount of cash to burn, then you will receive an Apple computer that is loaded with your DNA sequence and the software for reading it. The computer, which luckily you get to keep, will have all 3 billion DNA letters that make your genome encoded.

CEO of Illumina, Jay Flatley, went on to say, “We thought it was important to get on this track. Starting now is going to improve any of the kinks in this system.” But why would a company want to develop something that currently is unable to be marketed to a vast amount of people? The better question is why do MANY companies want to create their own DNA sequencing software?

Harvard University researcher and co-founder of Knome (Another company that does DNA sequencing, however for $99,000), George Church may have the answer. “It’s like the early days of cell phones. You wanted to get out there and get lots of geographical territory, no matter what it took.”

Many companies now seem to be preparing for the no-so-distant future that may include a significantly cheaper cost for DNA sequencing, and when DNA sequencing becomes very widely used in the field of medicine.

Flatley has a mash up of software on his iPhone that may one day allow somebody like me and you to look at our DNA. This specific software belongs completely to Illumina, and he says, “It’s a hint of where we think things are going.” Soon everyone may be walking around with their own sequenced DNA on their phones, technology; you’ve got to love it.

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