By Janet Fang
Posting in Technology
Once it's activated by your stomach acid, the tiny sensor sends out digital signals about things like heart rate and temperature to show how you're responding to prescribed medication.
Soon, patients will be able to buy smart pills that have tiny ingestible sensors that can help track their medication use. Um, the call is coming from inside the house?
Patients not taking their meds as prescribed cost the US $290 billion in increased medical costs.
And last week, Silicon Valley's Proteus Biomedical announced the launch of their ‘digital health product’ in the UK, in collaboration with pharmacy chain Lloydspharmacy.
“The most important and basic thing we can monitor is the actual physical use of the medicine,” says Andrew Thompson of Proteus Biomedical.
These ‘sensor-enabled tablets’ are called Helius, and they come with ‘ingestible event markers.’ These can be taken with pills or incorporated directly into medicines by the manufacturers. The sensors are embedded in a placebo to be taken alongside the actual meds.
- The sensors are activated by stomach acid, and as Nature News explains, they’re powered much like potato batteries (where 2 different metals generate a current when inserted into the tuber).
- Each sensor – about the size of a grain of sand – contains a tiny amount of copper and magnesium. When you swallow one of these devices, you become the potato that creates a voltage. That then is used to power the device, which creates a signal.
- The digital signal can’t be detected except by an adhesive patch attached to your skin, like a bandage.
- It monitors things like heart rate, respiration, temperature, body posture, and even sleeping patterns – to show how you’re responding to the medication.
- These data are then relayed to your cellphone to be shared with whomever you like. Your doctor might decide to change dosages or medication based on that info.
The cost of the monitoring service is slated to be £50 ($77) a month. Lloydspharmacy hopes to make the system available in September.
Proteus Biomedical is developing and commercializing a range of digital health care products with others in the industry, such as Novartis, Medtronic, ON Semiconductor, and Kaiser Permanente. The company has already tested the system in hundreds of patients in many different therapeutic areas: tuberculosis, mental health, heart failure, hypertension, and diabetes.
Image: Proteus Biomedical
Jan 17, 2012
A lot can be said jokingly like do you get a choice of a red or blue pill, or do little people swim around your blood stream looking for trouble (one looking like a young Raquel Welch). Nevertheless, unless this thing can somehow latch itself to the walls of your stomach; in a day or two it will end up getting flush away. So all you folks who are concerned about big bro tracking your every movement, just hang out at home, eat some bean burritos and in a day or so it will be gone!
You said "Patients not taking their meds as prescribed cost the US $290 billion in increased medical costs." Could you explain how it costs the US government $290 billion? I think I am going to start a Propaganda Watch organization.
Since when has there been a LLoyds Pharmacy? Banking and Insurance why not Pharma? Let's see, I wonder what their opinion of the NHS is? And they called Iraq Iran and Korea the Axis of Evil.
Schizophrenics everywhere are shouting a collective "I told you so", since they've long known we've all been injected with chips to monitor our every move.
Now I have more information to share on twitter.....lol. But seriously, this is very interesting. Nothing is secret anymore.
Jed Eckert: GOD-DAMMIT, WHERE'S THE BUG? Darryl Bates: They made me swallow it. Reference: Red Dawn. Don't take the pill folks. This is just plain wrong. Slippery Slope keeps sliding...
must be the same imaginary TV doctors that want you to discuss every facet of your health with them. The doctors I've been to, they're ready to boot you out the door as soon as they write the prescription.
A great invention. If everyone can get past the privacy act and the cost (that'll come down - how expensive is a new Intel chip, come on people) this would be even better if a Doctor could monitor this real time. Who wouldn't pay for their frail mother/father if their is a family history of heart attacks? If it could monitor the heart rate and a "service" call an ambulance within 2 mins of it not registering a heart beat? Quicker than you could find them, hmmmm. Just get it to send it the signals over the internet through an encrypted service, then we'll be getting somewhere.
I have no problem contributing 65% of my income to taxes. Raise taxes. Raise taxes. Raseeaeffffv./,.,............
This is just creepy. Plain creepy. I wonder if they will become a requirement in order to get insurance coverage someday?
Sorry, I don't think I need something just hanging around my insides. What? You don't expel this thing? Seems very odd. For $77 a month I can do a lot to improve my over all health, marginalizing the need for yet another invasive product.
I notice that this is a British invention. Has it been approved by the FDA as a "drug". I am glad that human intervention with a patch and cell phone is required for it to work.
--as prescribed can = not taking their meds period. If they don't take meds they won't take the placebo with the device in it either. I suppose not getting any feedback from the device will let whomever know that they aren't taking their meds. -- don't always have the money to take them on a regular basis so they do every other day or so. If they don't have the money to purchase their meds how can they afford $77/month for another "medication". Just a question. also if they don't have $$ for meds they may not be spending money for cell phone either. ---are sometimes those with mental problems or the homeless/wanderers who aren't always in a place (mentally or physically) to refill prescriptions or sell them or ----- these are the folks that are hard to monitor cause ya can't find them. most don't have cell phones either cause they don't have a billing address. While I think the idea is a good one - the people who could most benefit by the proposed plan (besides the manufacturers/sellers/advertisers/insurance co...) can't or won't have access to the device.
In a screenplay I just wrote, one of my characters has a husband who works in the bio-medical field and is developing a computer chip that monitors the whole body for any diseases before they come to fruition. It sounds as if this pill closely resembles that. It is very exciting, but I do wonder about future usage and government involvement. That aspect scares me, because if they can monitor heart rate and other pill interaction, it won't be long before these devices can, in reality, monitor, well, any aspect of human life, and thus, maybe even control or mandate choices. Who knows what big brother controls could possibly be implemented. Still, it is exciting. Booktrope Publishing Book Marketing Manager: Cathedral of Dreams, A Kingdom's Possession
I wonder what the long list of "possible side-effects" are that are typical with any ingestible pill.
The article very clearly states that the device is powered by a bio-battery. Your stomach acid is 0.05% Hydrochloric Acid among other things, which is perfectly capable of eating small quantities of metal. Being as Magnesium and Copper turn into oxides (and are useful minerals in the body) at different speeds, power is generated just like in a potato/lemon/etc battery and used by the device. Speaking from experience, I've made a few tiny batteries using magnesium and copper, and they dont last long even when used as skin-contact cells. (Yes, I DID invent wearable batteries that use sweat as electrolyte!) I'd estimate 1.4V at 0.1mA total power for maybe a few days, probably nearer 48 hours inside my body, and I use a *lot* more magnesium than would fit into a milliscale device. Basically there'd be nothing left to dispose of, or worry about remaining inside.
as long the UN behind controlling the electromagnetic spectrum and fake money are printing to jail the human mind then , we will get screwed .but at least we know about them and we may help each others on future.
It will eventually work in unison with the RFID chip that the government will implant in every individual.
Well...nearly all cancer causing substances have originated in the USA. Can you find anything that originated in the UK that has caused cancer?
waderx well you have strange take on the idea that it might be "brittish" ?? obviosly its not a drug it a devise [monitoring devise] and no doubt like nearly all good ideas from england thats england uk my friend it will be great it will be adopted like the harrier jumpjet by the usa commercialised without mercy and little or no credit given to the real inventors. dont worry about it being brittish but your slant in your comments worry me wayne
Actually, this could be great tool for people who are prescribed anti-psychotic/schizophrenic drugs. One of the big problems is they feel better, stop taking the drugs, then start acting up again. This could be a way of making sure they continue to take their meds. I would be all for paying a little extra in taxes to make sure people like that can afford it. A lot cheaper than locking them up, or paying for the damages they cause during an "episode."
You make a good point, vdub18t. Side-effects and usage, like government usage, concerns me. @inkdipped
Oh don't be so defensive, mate. We don't mean any more offense than you do when you call us "yanks" or worse.