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Usually if your doctor heard that you had ingested some electronics, you would probably find yourself on the shortlist at your local surgical center. That is until now. The FDA has just approved the first electronic pill for humans.
Proteus Digital Health, based in Redwood City, CA, recently unveiled the new microchips which are the size of a grain of sand. They are composed of copper and magnesium, and when exposed to stomach acid, give off electronic charges that can be measured by a sensor patch placed on the patient’s skin. This sensor can then pass along the data to a smartphone – again wirelessly – for interpretation by an installed application. The most important aspect of this new breakthrough is that it gives healthcare providers a way to monitor medication “compliance” – a nice label for whether a patient actually takes their pills as prescribed.
While a doctor recording whether or not you’ve taken your pills may sound like something out of “1984,” non-adherence to medication plans is a major challenge in modern healthcare. Patients, especially those with chronic illnesses that require multiple daily doses, just aren’t that good at taking their pills on time every day. With these new digital drugs, doctors will be able to adjust treatment to best suit their charges – who will ideally be much healthier for it.
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