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Electronics & Test

Electronics Work Inside the Body, Then Disappear

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Nancy Golden
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Platinum
Avoiding the Need for a Second Surgery is a Very Good Thing
Nancy Golden   12/11/2012 10:30:40 AM
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Mind boggling technology to be sure. I can certainly see the application - any surgery is hard on the human body. We have experienced vast improvements with robotic surgery but there is still healing that must occur after any procedure. Avoiding the need for a second procedure would be a great thing - especially for the elderly. I personally would be leery of putting anything in the human body that it "didn't come with" and allow it to dissolve - I am not sure if we fully understand how substances affect the body on the celluar level - but that fear shouldn't stop the research - the reserach just needs to prove those fears are groundless. This technology has many challenges to meet but sounds very worthwhile...

Ann R. Thryft
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Re: Avoiding the Need for a Second Surgery is a Very Good Thing
Ann R. Thryft   12/11/2012 12:09:04 PM
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While my initial response was "Wow, how cool", my next was I'm not going to trust a mechanical engineering expert on what materials are and are not considered safe inside the human body. I'm not sure I'd even trust a biologist or anyone else who hadn't already done the research on these materials with animal studies. There have been way too many incidents, such as medical implant materials that were supposed to be safe but weren't, or were supposed to last for decades, but didn't. The idea is great--the execution will take a lot of work to implement correctly.

Elizabeth M
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These devices definitely need to be proven safe
Elizabeth M   12/11/2012 12:27:59 PM
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I agree with both of you ladies that while this technology is certainly fascinating, it is hard right now to gauge the safety and impact on the human body. Obviously, it won't be used until it's been thoroughly tested and proven safe (at least we hope!). But then, think of silicone breast implants...they were thought safe as well but there have been a number of cases in which they've proven a health risk. It certainly remains to be seen how this will play out, but the idea of treating patients internally without excess waste and minimal invasion is certainly a worthwhile one for continued research, in my opinion.

Nancy Golden
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Platinum
Re: These devices definitely need to be proven safe
Nancy Golden   12/11/2012 12:35:45 PM
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I agree - I think part of the problem is that you get researchers who are specializing in one area that is their main area of concern and while they know that area of the body and do a good job, they don't have an understanding on how other areas of the body are affected...this stuff is incredibly complicated and there are always the possibility of different body chemistries responding differently to the same substance. These folks have their work cut out for them!

Elizabeth M
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Re: These devices definitely need to be proven safe
Elizabeth M   12/11/2012 1:26:07 PM
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Yes, that is true, Nancy. The thing is, I think the best case scenario for this type of research is to have a medical doctor on board from the beginning to consult. I recently wrote another story in which a medical doctor specializing in the research field also was a part of the team developing the technology, so he could provide his opinion on the kinds of concerns a patient might have. Even then, of course, you never know until the technology is used. But it's certainly a good place to start.

Nancy Golden
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Re: These devices definitely need to be proven safe
Nancy Golden   12/11/2012 1:33:27 PM
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Great point, Elizabeth - I would go for a team of doctors that specialized in different areas since multiple areas would be affected. Having them in place from the beginning could possibly prevent a lot of issues upfront. I think you are right on target! 

Ann R. Thryft
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Re: These devices definitely need to be proven safe
Ann R. Thryft   12/13/2012 7:56:43 PM
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I agree with you both about the multidisciplinary team. A lot of lives could have been saved if this approach had been used in the past.

jlinstrom
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Gold
dissolving trigger?
jlinstrom   12/18/2012 12:48:51 PM
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Instead of a timed dissolve from a coating, maybe an external signal or chemical initiator? That way if the treatment needed to be extended or shortened due to the body's response, timing could be adjusted. This has nothing to do with the effect of the electronics on the body, dissolved or intact, just the trigger mechanism.

NadineJ
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Platinum
Re: dissolving trigger?
NadineJ   12/30/2012 8:56:54 PM
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@ jlimstrom- that is a great idea.  Doctors often 'watch' certains things.  This would take same of the guesswork out of the wait-and-see appraoch.

An artificail spike in a naturally occuring hormone may be used as a trigger.

Elizabeth M
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Re: dissolving trigger?
Elizabeth M   1/4/2013 1:59:17 PM
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That's a good point. What if the body didn't respond as doctors expect to the treatment and needs more than the treatment is timed for? I am sure as researchers continue their work they will consider different scenarios and try to come up with methods that best suit them.

Harimohan
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Iron
Excess of magnesium and silicon
Harimohan   1/5/2013 11:54:36 AM
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As all the circuits are made up of magnesium and silicon and wrapped in  magnesium dioxide then such electronic pills definitely going to increase the amount of magnesium and sillicon over the optimum value for a normal person inside the user and that may have biological side effects. So thats may be the problem, i think.

Elizabeth M
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Re: Excess of magnesium and silicon
Elizabeth M   1/7/2013 6:26:38 AM
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That's also a good point, but I think the researchers tried to design the electronics to be safe for humans. Perhaps that will be something they need to consider as they develop these electronics further and begin to test them on human subjects. Thanks for your comment.

Cabe Atwell
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Re: Excess of magnesium and silicon
Cabe Atwell   1/29/2013 5:57:17 PM
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Great approach, as long as the material passed out of the body in a timely manner. Like an install, run, delete maintenance program.

C

Elizabeth M
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Re: Excess of magnesium and silicon
Elizabeth M   1/30/2013 4:28:42 AM
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Good analogy, Cabe! Yes, I do think that indeed is the point. Get it in, make it work, and then get it out before it can do anything adverse. We shall see if they manage to accomplish this in the future, I guess!

Cabe Atwell
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Re: Excess of magnesium and silicon
Cabe Atwell   2/1/2013 4:43:56 PM
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Oh boy.. here comes the tin-foil hats. Install the device, and it stays resident. The person will never know...

 

C

Elizabeth M
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Re: Excess of magnesium and silicon
Elizabeth M   2/6/2013 5:50:12 AM
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Haha, Cabe, well I hope in the case of these electronics the patients are willing participants in the device insertion! But it does open up a whole world of possibilities, doesn't it? :)

Cabe Atwell
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Re: Excess of magnesium and silicon
Cabe Atwell   2/22/2013 4:13:54 PM
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How does the body process metal out of itself? My brother has some small metallic shrapnel that still bothers him. It refuses to move. I assume dissolvable electronics will not leave deposits throughout the body, but it will be decades before people will believe otherwise.

C

Elizabeth M
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Blogger
Re: Excess of magnesium and silicon
Elizabeth M   2/25/2013 3:44:01 AM
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I think the idea is that the electronics are made of organic materials that can be processed quite easily because the body is used to them. Shrapnel, obviously, is quite a foreign object and would be intrusive to the body. The electronics are designed, in my understanding, to not be invasive and as natural as possible.

Cabe Atwell
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Blogger
Re: Excess of magnesium and silicon
Cabe Atwell   2/25/2013 2:56:25 PM
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I would hope so.

C

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