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"Today, when doctors suspect that a patient has a cardiac arrhythmia that could lead to a heart attack, they can implant a tiny cardiac monitor smaller than a AAA battery in the patient's chest, directly over the heart. The company that makes that monitor, Medtronic, thinks the day will come when perfectly healthy people will be clamoring to have that gear inside them as well. 

At a Medical Design & Manufacturing conference today, Medtronic program director Mark Phelps described his company's successful efforts to miniaturize its cardiac technologies. In February, the company began a clinical trial of its pill-sized pacemaker, which is implanted inside the heart. While Phelps presented that tiny pacemaker as a remarkable feat of engineering, he saved his real excitement for the tiny Linq cardiac monitor, which went on sale this year. Phelps declared that the device heralded "the beginning of a new industry" in diagnostic and monitoring implants.  

Phelps argued that such an implant could be enhanced with more sensors to give people reams of biometric information, which would improve their healthcare throughout their lives. Young healthy people could use the sensors to track heart rate and calories burned, the kind of information that quantified selfers get today from wearable gadgets like the Fitbit. Later, the sensors would help with disease management, as they could be programmed to monitor particular organs or systems. Finally, they could enable independent living for the elderly by allowing doctors to keep watch over their patients remotely. "I would argue that it will eventually be seen as negligent not to have these sensors," Phelps said. "It's like driving without any gauges of your feedback systems." 

The data generated by these implants would be provided to both the patient and the physician, Phelps said, and would allow both to see how lifestyle changes affect the patient's health over time, or how his or her body reacts to certain pharmaceuticals. This Big Data approach could enable a shift from reactive, symptom-based medicine to a preventative care model. 

Such a medical system would be intrusive in two senses, Phelps admitted: Not only would doctors be physically cutting into a patient's body, they would also be exposing a great deal of the patient's biometric data. Yet Phelps believes that people will embrace the sensor-enabled lifestyle. "You'll get so used to having that feedback and information, you won't be able to imagine life without it," he said. "

 

 

 

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The wireless pacemaker is just 3mm long

The wireless pacemaker is just 3mm long

"US researchers have built a wirelessly powered pacemaker the size of a grain of rice and implanted it in a rabbit.

They were able to hold a metal plate a few centimetres above the rabbit's chest and use it to regulate the animal's heartbeat.

If such medical implants could be made to work in humans, it could lead to smaller devices that are safer to fit."

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Source of article in this academic paper here

"Pacemakers and implanted defibrillators are vulnerable to wireless attacks that could kill tens of thousands, says the security researcher best known for "jackpotting" an ATM on stage at the BlackHat security conference in Las Vegas in 2010.
The researcher in question, Barnaby Jack, today told the Ruxcon Breakpoint security conference in Melbourne, Australia that “the most obvious scenario would be a targeted attack against a high profile individual.”
Jack also warned of a worst-case scenario in which a worm could infect multiple devices, spreading from patient to patient, re-flashing the devices with malicious code as it foes. This code could be programmed to deliver fatal shocks to patients implanted with vulnerable implants at a scheduled time.
Such an attack would be possible because pacemakers possess a wireless interface designed to deliver telemetry and allow maintenance. But Jack, who works for US-based security company IOActive, has subverted security in that interface and showed delegates a video demonstration of a wireless attack against an Implantable Cardioverter-Defibrillator (ICD). "There's 830 volts going into the heart there, which is a bummer," he said as an audible zap played over the conference audio system.
Hacking the devices was too easy, Jack says. "There's no attempt to obfuscate or hide anything from a would-be attacker"."
"Jack says medical device manufacturers should be held liable for vulnerabilities in their products. "I 100% agree that they should be held liable… removing liability from the manufacturers is ridiculous. It allows them to write shoddy code and have no consequences from it," he says. "

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"Hacking researcher Barnaby Jack has died (somehow) a week before a conference where he was going to present techniques for attacking heart implants that could kill people from 30 yards away.
The hacker had previously highlighted the techniques for hacking ATM’s and had raised the issue of implant hacking last year."

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"The San Francisco medical examiner's office has said it could be several months before the cause of death for acclaimed hacker Barnaby Jack is released.
Jack, who was born in New Zealand, was famous for hacking implanted medical devices and ATMs. He was found dead in San Francisco on 25 July.
A San Francisco police department spokesperson told the Guardian Jack was found dead by "a loved one" in an apartment in the city's Nob Hill neighborhood and that no foul play was suspected.
Jack lived in San Francisco, where he worked as the director of embedded security research at security firm IOActive. The company said Jack was survived by his mother and sister in New Zealand and his girlfriend in California."

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