by January 1, 2007 0 comments

You must have heard about the Annual Maintenance Contract (AMC) of IT
infrastructure, home appliances and other device. But, how about the AMC of
human body?

Interesting? In a world where we are hard pressed for time to pay attention
to our own self, it won’t be a bad idea to give maintenance contracts for our
own body to a third party. That’s ok, but who has the time to keep a check on
his health and spend time to go for regular check ups? Not many people really.
To bypass the hassles of going for regular check ups and not to ignore the
slightest of health warnings, technology could come to rescue in a very
interesting way.

Well, there ought to have been an arrangement whereby health insurance and
healthcare companies would keep a check on your health somehow automatically,
rather than you going to them after you face a problem. It is possible.
Biological chip is the answer. And by the way they are already there, though in
the R&D phase. These biological chips are the microchips that will be
installed in a person’s body to periodically monitor several of health
parameters like blood pressure, blood sugar, pulse rate and so on. The
microchips would also have the potential to capture and
analyze all electrochemical and electromagnetic signals inside the body
including nerve impulses.

Sanjay Majumdar
Issue Editor for this month

The microchips will collect all data and send it across to a data center,
where it will be analyzed by experts with the help of software. On processing
and evaluating the data, they will ascertain whether the person is facing any
health threat or not and intimate him accordingly. They may even send the data
across to a specialized processor to recommend any medication and further check
ups. Well, you may not even need to visit the hospital for many tests.

The technology could prove a landmark breakthrough in not only diagnosing
many diseases but also preventing them. The possibility of a heart attack could
well be judged with the help of the biosensor that could easily detect any
change in blood protein levels. An early detection of any health threat this
way, instead of waiting for the symptoms to show or finding it accidentally on a
fortunate accidental visit, could revolutionize the healthcare system
altogether. Coming to a very ideal scenario, the chips might undergo such
integration that we could inject them into new-born babies-a whole new
technological dimension to parenting. In fact, research in this area is already
underway in many universities and research labs. And Specialists of the Central
Administrative Board of Research Institute of Experimental Medicine (Russian
Academy of Medical Sciences) are developing biological microchips that will
allow detecting a very early stage of diabetes. And it will help doctors to
treat diabetic patients in early stages. Research is also on to develop a device
that will inject insulin automatically into the body.

So in near future, you might see a device that will contain insulin,
externally attached to the human body and connected to a biological microchip.
The chip will calculate blood sugar level in the body and when the levels go
down a particular threshold, the device will inject required amount of insulin
into the body. This would be of great help to those who need regular and
frequent intakes of insulin, especially children.

While all this is underway, there are some serious issues to be addressed
before these biochips become as common as an injection. Is there enough
crash-proof technology available to support the system? What if the chip’s
Bluetooth connection with your phone fails and it is not able to send its data
across to your phone? How affordable will the technology be? What will happen,
if the firmware inside the chip got corrupted and output wrong data? Will there
be any side effects to your body on implanting the chip? Or will it be possible
to wear the chip like a bracelet?

So before the technology matures, these issues need to be taken care of by
careful and intense testing. We are surely on the verge of a revolution not only
in the healthcare but also in medical technology. Let’s hope for the best!

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