Pill helps patients follow doctors' orders

June 30, 2010 9:53:27 AM PDT
The American Heart Association calls patients' failure to follow prescription regimens "the number one problem in treating illness today."

THE PROBLEM: Studies have found, for example, that patients with chronic diseases normally take only half their prescribed medications. According to the American Heart Association, 10 percent of hospital admissions result from patients not following the guidelines on their prescriptions. Other studies have found that not taking medication properly results in 218,000 deaths annually. (Source: sciencedaily.com)

THE SOLUTION: The idea behind one new device is simple. Pills for consumption are outfitted with a tiny transmitter, while the person ingesting the pills wears a watch or bracelet that acts as a receiver. When the patient swallows the pill, the transmitter communicates with the receiver, signaling the pill has been consumed. (Source: University of Florida)

THE EQUIPMENT: One part of the pill is a standard white capsule coated with a label embossed with silvery lines. The lines comprise the antenna, which is printed using ink made of non-toxic, conductive silver nanoparticles. The pill also contains a tiny microchip. When a patient takes the pill, it communicates with the second main element of the system, which is a small device carried or worn by the patient. The device (perhaps a cell phone, watch, or laptop) signals the pill has been ingested - in turn informing doctors or family members. (Source: sciencedaily.com)

THE TRIALS: Professor Rizwan Bashirullah's team has successfully tested the pill system in artificial human models as well as cadavers. Researchers have also simulated stomach acids to break down the antenna to learn what traces it leaves behind. The research team says the amount of silver left behind in the body is tiny, likely even less than the amount one person consumes while drinking tap water. (Source: sciencedaily.com)

THE FUTURE: The researchers who presented their findings at a conference in Japan last year are currently at work on a scholarly paper about their research. The research, itself, was funded by grants totaling about $70,000 from the National Science Foundation, Convergent Engineering and the Florida High Tech Corridor Council. (Source: sciencedaily.com)

For More Information, Contact:

Rizwan Bashirullah
University of Florida
Gainesville, FL

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