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What medical uses could injectable electronics enable?
The medical uses are potentially huge. "The technology could be used to help recover tissues following a brain injury or help manage diabetes by providing an intelligent solution for controlling insulin levels," says Collette Johnson, Medical Business Development Manager at Plextek Consulting. "Injectable electronics could also provide similar applications in chemical regulation of the brain for people with imbalances, as well as for individuals with growth hormone-related diseases. They could also be used to help control prosthetics by reacting to muscle motion."
In June the Lieber Research Group at Harvard University unveiled an injectable mesh that was able to detect electrical signals within mice brains, which could help scientists unravel how the brain's cells communicate. The mesh was injected through a needle just 0.1mm in diameter.
Could injected electronics be the next wave of wearable tech?
"Yes, technology is fast advancing to a stage where this is possible," says Kamat. "These types of treatments could be made feasible by microelectronics, which can be injected or delivered at desired locations in the body via minimally invasive procedures." For anyone squeamish about having things physically inserted under the skin, Kamat points out that ID tags have been implanted in pets for tracking purposes for years.
Jul 17, 2007—The American Medical Association (AMA) has officially established a code of ethics designed to protect patients receiving RFID implants. The recommendations focus on safeguarding a patient's privacy and health, and are the result of an evaluation by the AMA's Council on Ethical and Judicial Affairs (CEJA) regarding the medical and ethical implications of RFID chips in humans, as well as a follow-up report recently released. The latter discusses the possible advantages and specific privacy and ethical issues of usingRFID-enabled implantations for clinical purposes. 

Entitled "Radio Frequency ID Devices in Humans," the report is presented by Robert M. Sade, M.D., who chairs the CEJA. It acknowledges that RFID's use in health care "represents another promising development in information technology, but also raises important ethical, legal and social issues." The report adds, "Specifically, the use of RFID labeling in humans for medical purposes may improve patient safety, but also may pose some physical risks, compromise patient privacy, or present other social hazards." 

The AMA's report identifies three specific recommendations: The informed-consent process must include disclosure of medical uncertainties associated with these devices; physicians should strive to protect patients' privacy by storing confidential information only on RFID devices utilizing informational security similar to that required for medical records; and physicians should support research into the safety and efficacy of RFID devices implanted in human beings, and examine the role of doctors regarding the nonmedical uses of the technology. 

The recommendations now serve as ethical guidelines for physicians and caregivers, explains Steven Stack, M.D., a member of the AMA's board of trustees, and are officially part of the AMA's medical ethics code. While not law, the AMA's code of ethics has long served as a standard of conduct defining the essentials of honorable physician behavior. 

"The AMA is the largest professional organization representing the interest of physicians and patients in the U.S.," Stack says, "and the AMA's code of ethics is the most widely accepted guidance for physicians' professional, ethical practices." In fact, he adds, courts and governments often use the AMA's ethics codes as guidelines. 

Central to the AMA's recommendations is that RFID implantable devices still need to be researched. The report indicates such implants may present physical risks to patients, because the devices can migrate under the skin and become difficult to extract. It goes on to say the risks may be minimized "by constructing RFID tags from materials that permit surrounding tissue to encase the device." Furthermore, the document cautions that RFIDtags may electromagnetically interfere with electrosurgical devices (medical tools that use electrical currents for cauterization during surgery) and defibrillators, and that more research needs to be done regarding whether RFID tags might also affect the efficacy of pharmaceuticals.

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Transient

"Smart pills that monitor events in the body and transmit information to medical providers, pharmaceutical companies, and family members are raising legal and ethical questions that will need to be addressed, according to The Washington Post

Ingestible nano­sensors likely to be commercially available within five years, are capable of monitoring whether a person takes their medication. Experts say half of all patients don’t take their medicines as prescribed. The smart pills can also stream data on temperature, heart rate, and level of activity, the Post reported.

GODSEND OR INVASION OF PRIVACY

Such information, while a godsend to concerned family members of the elderly, also raises civil liberties issues. Among these is whether patients can maintain ultimate control over what information they share with outsiders. How can personal medical data be kept out of the hands of government including law enforcement? Can government compel patients to have their medical records implanted for their own protection as in the case of those suffering from dementia?"

 

 

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

Image: OBJ

Image: OBJ

"...What do you get when you mix Google Glass and EEG? That’s the question that the people at Ottawa-based Personal Neuro are on their way to answering. Given the buzz around how Google Glass can be used in healthcare, and our longstanding interest in brain-computer interface, we took the opportunity to speak with Personal Neuro’s CEO, Steve Denison, about his company and what they’re building."

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"A Florida adult-care facility is going ahead with plans to implant identity chips into patients with Alzheimer's disease who are in its care, despite protests that it is a form of branding.
Alzheimer's Community Care in West Palm Beach will implant a radio frequency identification chip into Alzheimer's patients with the consent of their families or the patients themselves if they are deemed competent.
The chip, which is slightly larger than a grain of rice, is implanted under the skin of the right forearm. Each chip will contain a unique 16-digit number that, when scanned in an emergency room, will link to the patient's medical records.
Mary Barnes, the president and CEO of Alzheimer's Community Care, said the RFID chips, manufactured by VeriChip Corp., provided the best means of giving medical personnel access to a patient's medical history, since people with Alzheimer's often cannot relay that information themselves.
"Our patients are the most fragile and vulnerable of any population," Barnes said.
While the RFID implants have been approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, VeriChip is testing the effectiveness of the chips in a real-world situation to see if Alzheimer's patients with the chip receive "quicker and better treatment" than those without, said VeriChip CEO Scott Silverman.
Safety and Consent Questions
Opponents of the chip program say it raises serious ethical considerations.
"This whole medical trial … really raises some pretty important issues about informed consent," said Katherine Albrecht, the founder of the advocacy group Consumers Against Supermarket Privacy Invasion and Numbering.
Albrecht is concerned that Alzheimer's patients are being enrolled in what she considers a potentially risky study without their consent."

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"...EPFL scientists have developed a tiny, portable personal blood testing laboratory: a minuscule device implanted just under the skin provides an immediate analysis of substances in the body, and a radio module transmits the results to a doctor over the cellular phone network."

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