Beta
×

Welcome to the Slashdot Beta site -- learn more here. Use the link in the footer or click here to return to the Classic version of Slashdot.

Thank you!

Before you choose to head back to the Classic look of the site, we'd appreciate it if you share your thoughts on the Beta; your feedback is what drives our ongoing development.

Beta is different and we value you taking the time to try it out. Please take a look at the changes we've made in Beta and  learn more about it. Thanks for reading, and for making the site better!

Body 2.0 — Continuous Monitoring of the Human Body

Soulskill posted more than 5 years ago | from the invest-now-before-the-body-bubble-bursts dept.

Medicine 330

Singularity Hub has a story about the development of technology that will some day allow for the constant, real-time monitoring of your medical status, and they take a look at current technological advances to that end. Quoting: "Did you ever stop to think how silly and also how dangerous it is to live our lives with absolutely no monitoring of our body's medical status? Years from now people will look back and find it unbelievable that heart attacks, strokes, hormone imbalances, sugar levels, and hundreds of other bodily vital signs and malfunctions were not being continuously anticipated and monitored by medical implants. ... The huge amounts of data that would be accumulated from hundreds of thousands of continuously monitored people would be nothing short of a revolution for medical research and analysis. This data could be harvested to understand the minute by minute changes in body chemistry that occur in response to medication, stress, infection, and so on. As an example, the daily fluctuations in hormone levels of hundreds of thousands of individuals could be tracked and charted 24/7 to determine a baseline from which abnormalities and patterns could be extracted. The possibilities are enormous."

cancel ×

330 comments

Sorry! There are no comments related to the filter you selected.

No (3, Insightful)

seanadams.com (463190) | more than 5 years ago | (#27288755)

Did you ever stop to think how silly and also how dangerous it is to live our lives with absolutely no monitoring of our body's medical status?

I think it's silly how people constantly try to eliminate every imaginable element of risk from their lives instead of just getting out there and living it. I find the idea of having my physiology constantly monitored by a computer about as attractive as living in a big plastic bubble. But hey if what you want out of modern medicine is to be protected by layer after layer of prophylactics so you can feel safe, by all means go for it.

Re:No (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27288783)

I find the idea of having my physiology constantly monitored by a computer

(suppresses Big Brother comment)

Re:No (1)

thetoadwarrior (1268702) | more than 5 years ago | (#27288817)

Shame this device won't detect when you're run over or shot...which may be more likely to happen with your newly found sense of invincibility from your monitoring hardware.

Re:No (1, Troll)

davester666 (731373) | more than 5 years ago | (#27288869)

Don't forget the Heisenberg uncertainty principle... The more closely your health is monitored, the likely the monitoring is going to affect your health.

Re:No (2, Insightful)

pthreadunixman (1370403) | more than 5 years ago | (#27289713)

I hate it when people quote Heisenberg out of context.

Re:No (1)

davester666 (731373) | more than 5 years ago | (#27289839)

What do you mean by 'out of context'? If your health is monitored at the sub-atomic level, it totally applies.

Re:No (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27288889)

I always buy DocWagon Platinum. That 250000 Nuyen is money well spent. Why would anyone NOT want to have real-time medical and location tracking while you are performing shadowy activities.

Oh, wait. You aren't talking about Shadowrun are you?

...and will be used against you (2, Insightful)

AliasMarlowe (1042386) | more than 5 years ago | (#27289875)

"There are cannabinoids in your bloodstream. The SWAT team has been alerted. Please wait for them to arrive and beat you up."

OR:
"Your blood alcohol level is above the legal limit. A police officer is on the way. Please stop your vehicle immediately and wait to be arrested."
And it would do this even if you were driving on your own private road, or driving a tractor on your own land (hint: DUI rules apply only on public roads, parking lots, etc.).

Re:No (5, Funny)

Linker3000 (626634) | more than 5 years ago | (#27289087)

"You are experiencing a heart attack. I have checked your bank balance and credit card limits and you have insufficient funds for full, practical treatment. Do you want me to SMS a) Your wife, or b) Your mother. Watching the following funeral services commercial presentations may entitle you to a 10% discount. Here's some soothing music while you decide and I update your Myspace status and send a Tweet."

Re:No (1)

bencoder (1197139) | more than 5 years ago | (#27289179)

sounds pretty useful to me, personally.

Re:No (2, Interesting)

Skal Tura (595728) | more than 5 years ago | (#27289455)

ROFLMAO! X)

Utopistic

But that shows one important question: Why do we keep paying immensively high taxes (atleast here in Finland), yet are unable to get something as important as proper medical care?

Here, high taxes is often defended with medical care, yet it's totally crap, if you get doctor's appointment, they have less than 5minutes for you, and basicly rolls a dice to make a diagnosis, and gives you random medication.

Or more recent incident was that i were getting wisdom tooth removed, i got the appointment in several hours as emergency (the tooth cracked) and the operation was fast and painless, they pumped me so full of dope!

However: They did not warn me not to drive my car, NOR did warn about the immense pain i would be suffering from a few hours late. Thank god my friend happened to have red triangle painmeds, but even with them the pain got so hard through that my knees went soft everytime it struck through an very high dose of that red triangle pain med.

No warning, no prescriptions or anything, that really sucked ... 2 days of agony even with those meds, which were so powerfull that almost everytime after taking one i fell asleep.

Re:No (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27289595)

"Your husband is experiencing a heart attack. We have checked his bank balance and credit card limits and found that he has insufficient funds for an ambulance. If you'd like to pay for his ambulance, text back AMBULANCE. This will cost $10000 + normal network rates."

Re:No (4, Funny)

Jurily (900488) | more than 5 years ago | (#27289835)

Microsoft Vaccine 2000 is configuring your immune system. This may take a few minutes. If your body stops responding for a long time and there is no brain activity please die. Setup will continue after you are reborn.

Re:No (3, Insightful)

kraemate (1065878) | more than 5 years ago | (#27288885)

Yes why dont we all stop using hospitals as well.
If its your day to die its your day to die.
Asking for some-one's help to save your life is for sissies.

I can monitor my laptop's fan speed all day long, but cant do so for my heart, which is /much/ more important than a replaceable gadget.

Re:No (1)

creimer (824291) | more than 5 years ago | (#27288979)

If you live a healthy lifestyle (i.e., diet, exercise, vitamins, flu shots, no drug use), you really don't need a doctor or 24/7 monitoring unless you're in a serious accident. I haven't been to doctor in seven years since I took charge of my health.

BTW, The human heart far more reliable than your laptop fan. :P

Re:No (2, Interesting)

kraemate (1065878) | more than 5 years ago | (#27289089)

Its not just about real-time monitoring but also collecting data.
Knowing the complete medical history will enable far diagnosis.
Everybody is different and this data will stop doctors from generalizations and treat patients based on their past data and actual deviations from /your/ average.

Re:No (1)

Ihlosi (895663) | more than 5 years ago | (#27289253)

Knowing the complete medical history will enable far diagnosis.

Unless there's errors in the medical history that send the doctor on a wild goose chase.

Re:No (0)

shawb (16347) | more than 5 years ago | (#27289723)

Yes, there will be some errors. And those exist now... just last night I was talking to someone who went to get a birth control shot, and she got suspect when they tried to administer it in a different arm than normal (the charts list preference of arm.) It turns out they had the chart of someone with the same name (first, middle initial, and last) and birthdate (but born two years later) who was also scheduled to come in that day for an insulin injection for diabetes. If the other patient had also been right handed, a dangerous situation would have been caused for both patients.

Having the blood sugar level information automatically read by instruments already in the body would have sent an immediate warning to not administer insulin...

And having as little of a medical history as most doctors currently do makes diagnosis resemble a snipe hunt compared to the wild goose chase that errors in the history would cause. I assume determining if anomalous readings are due to actual fluctuation or equipment error would be a standard part of diagnosis.

Re:No (2, Insightful)

clarkkent09 (1104833) | more than 5 years ago | (#27289115)

You can't "take charge of your health". Sure, living a healthy lifestyle reduces the risks of many health problems but there are plenty where your genes count far more than your lifestyle. In many of the most serious diseases (such as many cancers and heart problems) family history is the primary factor. Of course accidents can happen too.

Re:No (1)

Ihlosi (895663) | more than 5 years ago | (#27289141)

You can't "take charge of your health".

Oh yes you can. Even though that will mean putting a bullet through your skull occasionally. Welcome to freedom and responsibility. Ha ha.

Re:No (2, Interesting)

creimer (824291) | more than 5 years ago | (#27289303)

According to my family history, if you drink and/or smoke, you die young from liver and cancer disease. If you live a healthy lifestyle, you die of "natural causes" in your early 90s. Taking responsibility for my own health was the best decision in my young life.

Re:No (1)

artor3 (1344997) | more than 5 years ago | (#27289235)

Yeah, ever since I took charge of my health and decided not to have cancer, I've been just fine!

Re:No (1)

commodore64_love (1445365) | more than 5 years ago | (#27288981)

>>>I can monitor my laptop's fan speed all day long, but cant do so for my heart

- Open Windows desktop clock
- Place two fingers on wrist
- When the clock read XX:XX:00 start counting
- When the clock reads XX:XY:00 stop counting.
- That's the speed of your hearts in beats per minute. Repeat as often as desired. Cost: Nothing but time.

Re:No (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27289095)

I started counting when the clock was showing 22:22:00 and stopped when it was 22:21:00. It turns out my heart is doing around 2000 beats per second. Awesome!

Re:No (2, Insightful)

clarkkent09 (1104833) | more than 5 years ago | (#27289277)

Still, continuous monitoring of your heart rate is far more useful. You could have a serious heart condition and your pulse will still look normal in most random tests. When it starts to show abnormalities is when you want to be alerted and that's what an implant would do.

Re:No (1)

Lord Bitman (95493) | more than 5 years ago | (#27289973)

not to mention, most "abnormalities" would be seen as miscounts.

Re:No (5, Insightful)

Bobb9000 (796960) | more than 5 years ago | (#27289147)

I'm glad someone in this thread isn't being ridiculous. I would love to be able to have a constant readout of my body's status. While you can determine some things using your own senses, there's nothing like a computer for precisely doing dull, repetitive tasks, like checking your pulse or taking your blood pressure.

While there are obvious privacy issues here, new technology doesn't have to always produce net evil results. I would have thought people on a tech board would understand that. If devices like this were built to only report results using a method that's sure to be noticed, and stupid governments don't pass laws mandating the results be given to the government, this would be an incredible tool not only for medical diagnosis, but also for learning to better control your body.

And before anyone starts yapping about how governments are always stupid and will always take your freedom, so we'd be better off not having this tech, I just have to say: grow up. Governments are masses of people, not monolithic freedom vampires, and if you seriously think that you can have no impact on the course of government, you don't deserve the freedoms a lot of people have worked hard and sacrificed for over the years. If you don't like the current state of government (and there's plenty not to like), then get genuinely politically active, instead of just anonymously whining on the internet.

Sorry, /rant.

Re:No (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27289339)

As we already witnessed in countless dictatorships, all that is required to make people do something horrifying to the objective observer is the belief that what they're doing will benefit mankind in the end.

With this in mind, governments are, yes, freedom vampires, except where vampires couldn't enter the house without your permission, governments have 4 AM, SWAT-style no-knock raids. The idea of having a government monitor your health statistics 24/7 is LITERALLY taken out of the book 1984, and if it fell into the hands of the government, would mean the end of freedom for mankind. Government at its very worst is simply coercive robbery - imagine giving your local mafioso 24/7 information about your actions.

Re:No (1)

Bobb9000 (796960) | more than 5 years ago | (#27289519)

Actually, I have imagined giving (insert big bad here) 24/7 information about my actions and health status. That's why I specifically mentioned that this technology raises the obvious spectre of that problem. However, what you're not addressing is the main thrust of the rant portion of my post, which is that perhaps we'd be better off taking action to prevent bad governments than simply decrying new technologies. Have you heard of this new technology called video cameras? Given the idea of government you're putting forward, I expect that we all have them in every room of our house, so that the big bad can more efficiently suck away our freedom. Oh, what's that? The government hasn't mandated that we all put cameras in our bedrooms? Well, I guess politics must be a complicated, messy thing that can't be accurately described as either 1984 or Utopia.

Oops. Didn't see that one coming.

Re:No (1)

thousandinone (918319) | more than 5 years ago | (#27289597)

I can't speak for the world as a whole, but I strongly believe that the juggernaut that the US Federal government has become has passed the threshold wherein the citizenry can affect meaningful change through the 'established channels.'

Re:No (1)

The Mighty Buzzard (878441) | more than 5 years ago | (#27289983)

There's a huge difference between asking for help in an emergency and being so paranoid that you need 24/7 monitoring.

Re:No (1)

creimer (824291) | more than 5 years ago | (#27288907)

I can imagine a future society where your attitude would be considered a threat to public health and forceful measures to protect US from YOU. Then again, a naturalist live-and-let-die movement will be born.

Re:No (3, Insightful)

commodore64_love (1445365) | more than 5 years ago | (#27289047)

>>>a threat to public health and forceful measures to protect US from YOU

Japan already has mandatory diets for those with BMI>30. When the government gives you taxpayer-supported healthcare, the government also has the right to run your life. Just the same as when Congress hands money to the States, and attaches all kinds of requirements, such as raising the drinking age from 18 to 21.

Of course the States have the option to refuse Congressional money, and leave the drinking age at 18. Unfortunately the citizens do not have a similar right - citizens are expected to fall into line according to the Tyrants... er, politicians' wishes. "Go on a diet!" "Yes sir."

Re:No (5, Insightful)

seanadams.com (463190) | more than 5 years ago | (#27289051)

I can imagine a future society where your attitude would be considered a threat to public health and forceful measures to protect US from YOU.

Gosh yes, imagine a world where it's illegal to ride a bike unless you are wearing a proper helmet approved by a government designated regulatory agency, or to drive your car without wearing your seatbelt, or to smoke a cigarette or a joint in the privacy of your own home. Or where you're required by the state to buy overpriced insurance whether you want it or not. Where the state disciplines you for disciplining your kid, where restaurants are forbidden from serving certain tasty yet unhealthy ingredients, where every product and every place of business is clearly labeled concerning the possible risks of cancer. Oh, heaven forfend that this might spiral into such lunacy!

Re:No (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27289203)

where are my mod points when I need them, well done sir.

Re:No (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27289489)

Well, let's see here.

Bike helmets make you MORE likely to be hit by a car, because the drivers of the cars will subconsciously assume you're a better biker and give you less room to manuever.

It is the freedom of the individual to choose what they ingest, be it tobacco, peyote or cyanide. The individual has the right to determine the associated benefits and risks of what they ingest. The same argument applies to food. I have the choice to eat soy and lentils 24/7, and I also have the choice to eat deep-fried garbage. It is my responsibility and my right to balance my own enjoyment of eating food and the associated risks to my health - such risks, I should mention, increase drastically in a governmentally enforced, monopolistic industrial food production system.

Let's say I live on a 30th floor apartment, because of the massive overpopulation we've got going on. My 3 year old kid has picked up a habit of climbing up the window screen with forks whenever it's opened. Am I going to patiently explain to him basic Newtonian physics, and emphasize the risks of what he's doing? No. He will not understand that. I will likely spank him, so he associates that negative experience with his actions, even if it results in some hostility towards me. It is again, my right to choose how to discipline my child based on the circumstances of the situation. The government cannot legislate this sensibly.

Now as per your "clearly labeling" products that have an alleged risk for cancer, this is a more subtle scam. If the government decides to overemphasize the carcinogenic properties of some product, requiring labels on the product such that the consumers will be 'informed' of the drastic risk involved in buying the product, then the consumers are already being conditioned to accept the notion of taxes on this product, due to the evil they now perceive in the producers of it. You might claim that Arizona iced tea is carcinogenic, but you'd have to prove it by either establishing one of the ingredients as carcinogenic, or identifying an unknown carcinogenic ingredient. But you will not do that. You will trust the government to do that. Hence, the government has the power to determine what products (aka, what businesses) are dangerous and levy taxes on the 'dangerous' ones, for your own safety.

Are you more concerned about cancer, or the government robbing your livelihood?

Re:No (1, Insightful)

lyml (1200795) | more than 5 years ago | (#27290003)

You mean beating children is not illegal in your country? Wow, what kind of third world country is that?

Re:No (2, Insightful)

Jurily (900488) | more than 5 years ago | (#27288973)

I find the idea of having my physiology constantly monitored by a computer about as attractive as living in a big plastic bubble.

I have an immune system designed for just that purpose. Oh, and it actually does something when it finds something.

Re:No (0, Offtopic)

kkrajewski (1459331) | more than 5 years ago | (#27289073)

I have an immune system designed for just that purpose. Oh, and it actually does something when it finds something.

Yeah, but DOES IT RUN LINUX?

Re:No (2, Funny)

Ihlosi (895663) | more than 5 years ago | (#27289091)

Yeah, but DOES IT RUN LINUX?

With implanted medical monitors, LINUX RUNS YOU!

Re:No (1)

CarpetShark (865376) | more than 5 years ago | (#27289109)

I have an immune system designed for just that purpose. Oh, and it actually does something when it finds something.

Actually many people's immune systems are "designed" to kill them (autoimmune disorders).

Still, I agree with the general points in this thread, that life is for living, not for obsessing over.

Re:No (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27288975)

Perhaps it is becoming necessary, in a society where we are bombarded with all sorts of feedback in real time. Mobile phones, computers, cars and other machines prompt us to do things _now_. The only thing our body does is to slowly get fat, tired, change it's voice (from excessive smoking) and other slow changes. It's too slow to be competitive with other systems.

YES -- humans are mostly predictable and will react to feedback and prompts. I know that I am predictable and that I do react. I had no plans at all to write this sentence three minutes ago.

I really think we need a real time feedback system for our bodies that can compete for attention with other man made feedback systems.

Islam - because the Enlightenment was overrated. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27289161)

And because female circumcision is every husband's right!

Re:No (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27289255)

I anticipate a GPS extension for real-time bowel movements.

Re:No (1)

eh2o (471262) | more than 5 years ago | (#27289359)

Ironically, this sort of tech is most likely to be picked up first by people who do extreme sports like mountaineering, high intensity training, etc.

Re:No, because the wrong treatment ... (1)

Herschel Cohen (568) | more than 5 years ago | (#27289579)

may be prescribed.

In Japan, x-ray of the lungs was more common than elsewhere and more tumors were caught. Nonetheless, the real cancer and survival rates were not improved. In hind sight it seems some of these tumors would have disappeared if left untreated. The problem was both not being able to discern the difference and harming some with unnecessary, radical surgical intervention.

In too many cases, life style behaviour known to be dangerous with predictable consequences (either by choice or bland acceptance) persists. For some, change is too hard, for others they see it as a image they would rather not confront. For many, other routes are more attractive, i.e. medical miracles after a lifetime of neglect. The only benefit might be to remind some that the deleterious effects are being seen. Let's use some of the simpler, cheaper options first, e.g. educating the young before opting for the expensive, unproven "fix".

A balance must be struck. The question has to be asked whether the cost of monitoring is excessive. For example, will unnecessary treatments result based upon an incipient symptoms of a disease that would never appear in the lifetime of a monitored individual? In the end, the monitoring may be a better tool if tested on fewer individuals and the data collected to see how effective current, conventional medicine fared.

Remember, supposedly the guiding principle of Medicine is to do no harm, whereas pervasive monitoring could have the opposite effect.

Re:No (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27289997)

*jerk-off hand motion*

Yes you're a real tough and adventurous guy. That's why you're giving advice on how to live life properly on slashdot.

Douche...

Re:No (1)

garett_spencley (193892) | more than 5 years ago | (#27290015)

All human action is a means to an end. To relieve felt uneasiness. From the day human had to escape being eaten by a lion to the day we created a vaccine for small pox we have been trying to increase our chances for survival. It is very easy to argue that you and your ancestors owe your very existence to that innate behaviour.

WTF? (4, Insightful)

wurp (51446) | more than 5 years ago | (#27290107)

I fail to see how monitoring my body automatically and being informed when my lifestyle leads to risk of serious ill health is "constantly try to eliminate every imaginable element of risk".

I put on a wrist strap, forget about it, and then I get a notice every few months that I need more exercise, or I need to cut out saturated fats. Or, I even get a couple of notices daily to tell me to go eat a banana to maintain a blood sugar level that will keep me feeling good.

That sounds pretty damn good to me. Most adults are killed by cancer or heart disease, and most cancer and heart disease are curable if caught early. It sounds to me like a system only an idiot would turn down.

Seriously, if you live the way you're proposing, you would ride your motorcycle helmet-less back & forth to work every day, dine on bacon cheeseburgers and chili cheese fries, and only ever exercise if it was fun. I'm all for your right to live that way, but I refuse to let your snide commentary on people who choose to put a little work into living happy, long lives stand without refutation.

(Note: this commentary is really directed as much at moderators as at the parent. A +5 Insightful comment naturally gets a more visceral reaction than the same comment at 2.)

Great (1)

JoshuaZ (1134087) | more than 5 years ago | (#27288771)

As soon as this technology is available I expect my mother will want me to have it on all the time so she can make sure that I'm not sick. I'm guessing I'm not the only person here worried about that possible development.

Re:Great (1)

Quantos (1327889) | more than 5 years ago | (#27288787)

That's a mothers job, well, they think it is anyway.

Re:Great (1)

unlametheweak (1102159) | more than 5 years ago | (#27288831)

It would be good for your mother to know.

Indeed. If your heart rate is going too fast then she will know you are looking at dirty pictures on the Internet, and so she won't have to deal with the unreliable Internet Filters that are out there. If your heart rate is going too slow then she'll know you've been drinking and can ground you. It is not just a health tool, it can be a good parenting tool, as well as something that can be used by employers and insurance companies to keep your premiums down (and their profit margins up). I'm sure any restrictive privacy laws will be amended to ensure this technology can be exploited for the betterment of society and our corporate world.

And the fine print.... (4, Funny)

SIR_Taco (467460) | more than 5 years ago | (#27288807)

"This new technology is sponsored and funded by:
Your friendly health and life insurance company, constantly finding new and innovative ways to make sure we never have to pay you a dime since 1666."

We've got along well enough without (4, Insightful)

thetoadwarrior (1268702) | more than 5 years ago | (#27288811)

I'm not sure the constant worry about the fluctuating read-out would help people.

Besides that's one more system to be abused and used as an excuse to exclude you from something.

Re:We've got along well enough without (3, Insightful)

DigiShaman (671371) | more than 5 years ago | (#27288951)

Why not?

Our servers and networks have continuous monitoring. Sure, sometimes you get some strange read-outs and "spikes" in the data but overall you can track trends and be on the lookout for pending disasters.

So while we got along well enough without continuous monitoring, imagine how much better we could be with it.

Re:We've got along well enough without (1)

thetoadwarrior (1268702) | more than 5 years ago | (#27289117)

And if you don't get a job because your boss doesn't like your body report then what?

Re:We've got along well enough without (1)

DigiShaman (671371) | more than 5 years ago | (#27289307)

You're assuming my boss would know that I even have such a device...

No. This data is for me and only me. It's not for my company, insurance, government, or anyone else for that matter. The only person other than myself to get this data would be my doctor. Even then, he/she would have to ask my explicit permission. We are talking about some very intimate knowledge about myself here. I literally guard it with my life.

Re:We've got along well enough without (1)

thetoadwarrior (1268702) | more than 5 years ago | (#27289555)

Your working under the assumption it would be that way.

People can be subject to drug tests and physicals before taking on a job already. If basically having a full medical check-up is readily available it would be silly to think that employers aren't going to want to see that.

Sure you can object but the job will go to someone else who doesn't object. I don't think it's that outrageous to think that most people wouldn't object to it either because it's quite apparent most people give out more information than they should about themselves and unfortunately have surrendered more rights to the government than they should have.

Re:We've got along well enough without (1)

DigiShaman (671371) | more than 5 years ago | (#27289915)

Which is sad. I mean, here we have the potential of a great tool for improving our personal health only for it to abused by political and economic entities.

Part of me agrees with you. We shouldn't use this technology because of the slippery slope we will all inevitably go down. The other part of me says "fuck em", I will be ever vigilant and not allow myself to abused by the system. So in a manor of speaking, we have let our government and society become an oppressive environment. I guess that in lays the real hazard to our health above and beyond anything else.

Monitoring not required to make that diagnosis.

Re:We've got along well enough without (1)

SIR_Taco (467460) | more than 5 years ago | (#27290001)

You're assuming my boss would know that I even have such a device...

The USB port at the base of your skull certainly wouldn't give it away.

Re:We've got along well enough without (1)

Krneki (1192201) | more than 5 years ago | (#27289685)

Blame your country not the the technology for inappropriate abuse.

I've wondered that (5, Insightful)

jmnugent (705421) | more than 5 years ago | (#27288847)

..for a pretty long time actually. I dont want it because I'm some kind of hypochondriac, I just think it would be cool to be able to monitor my daily rhythms. After a while you'd get an idea of what a baseline reading for any normal day was,.. and knowing that information would make you better informed about how your eating/drinking/drug use/whatever affects your body. Better yet,.. when you go to see the doctor, he can look back through your prior week or two of diagnostics and it might help him figure out whats wrong. Imagine trying to troubleshoot a computer where you had no Log files or any historical data. Possible? yes. Faster and better fixes when you have historical data?.. absolutely. (and it could help you catch something small before it becomes a bigger problem)

The cost is too high, and frankly not worth it. (1)

commodore64_love (1445365) | more than 5 years ago | (#27288897)

>>>Years from now people will look back and find it unbelievable that...malfunctions were not being continuously monitored

I have my doubts. It costs a lot of money to install monitors inside a human being, and most people don't earn enough money to pay the cost (and neither does the government, which also relies on people's earnings). In fact most cars or computer or televisions don't come with monitors for the same reason, so lack of monitoring is actually quite common.

Also people are replaceable. We have 6 billion of them, with new ones constantly being produced to replace the broken ones. After all, no one lives forever. What's the point of spending a million dollars installing electronics in a body if that body is doomed to expire? It's roughly equivalent to spending $10,000 to fix an old PC, when instead you could just get a new one to replace it. As someone who believes in eternity, I don't consider this life so great that I want to try to hang-on forever. The sooner I die the sooner I go to the Elysian Fields, or Paradise, or whatever lies beyond, and thereby make room for children and grandchildren to run the planet.

And finally, what exactly would these monitors tell us? "You have clogged arteries that will soon cause a brain or heart attack, but unfortunately we don't have a cure, so prepare to meet your maker." Gee, that was real helpful.

Re:The cost is too high, and frankly not worth it. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27289423)

Perhaps you shouldn't be making any plans for eternity just yet. Maybe wait 'til after you're dead, because they'll make fuck all difference beforehand.

Re:The cost is too high, and frankly not worth it. (1)

Pentium100 (1240090) | more than 5 years ago | (#27289943)

And finally, what exactly would these monitors tell us? "You have clogged arteries that will soon cause a brain or heart attack, but unfortunately we don't have a cure, so prepare to meet your maker."

You know, I would like to know that too. But the system could also tell me "Blood pressure too high, consult a doctor or take your pills (if already prescribed)". And no, I do not want to constantly interrupt whatever I am doing to check my blood pressure, better that the system could tell me when something is about to go wrong (so I interrupt my activities then and not hundreds of times before). Yes, I prefer interrupts and not polling.

Our body has a monitoring system built in (4, Insightful)

hwyhobo (1420503) | more than 5 years ago | (#27288935)

Did you ever stop to think how silly and also how dangerous it is to live our lives with absolutely no monitoring of our body's medical status?

Actually, our bodies provide lots of feedback. It's just that we are never taught how to listen to those signals. It's usually after the injury occurs that we learn to listen on our own. You would be amazed how well many diabetics can tell their sugar level at any given moment. It doesn't take more than a month of measuring to learn that. I know I may sound heretical on a geek board, but I would consider that skill more vital to many people than calculus.

Useless and redundant (1)

aswang (92825) | more than 5 years ago | (#27289017)

Exactly. You really don't need to see your vital signs fluctuating to know that you're having a heart attack.

Re:Useless and redundant (3, Insightful)

bretticus (898739) | more than 5 years ago | (#27289369)

What? We can do an EKG and measure troponin and sometimes not know for certain whether someone had a heart attack. Many people have atypical presentations, especially women. You also have things like "chest pain" that are actually reflux, or the person could be having an anxiety attack. Sure, you may know something is wrong, but not necessarily how serious -- just take Natasha Richardson.

Re:Useless and redundant (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27289749)

Too coherent of a comment, please mod down.

Re:Useless and redundant (1)

jamstar7 (694492) | more than 5 years ago | (#27289387)

Pretty much, yeah. My first hints were cold sweats and a feeling that both ex-mother in laws were jumping up and down on my chest. My co-worker's first hints was watching me hit the floor in a daze.

Re:Useless and redundant (1)

eh2o (471262) | more than 5 years ago | (#27289429)

Except that a heart attack is often confused, sometimes even by doctors, with an inflamation of the shoulder.

Re:Our body has a monitoring system built in (4, Insightful)

khallow (566160) | more than 5 years ago | (#27289507)

The problem is that our bodies don't provide that feedback to anyone else. And people infamously either pay too little or too much attention to those signals.

Re:Our body has a monitoring system built in (1)

the_one(2) (1117139) | more than 5 years ago | (#27290021)

Mod parent up please!
This technology could potentially almost eliminate routine checkups IMHO. Not to mention the potential good the statistics could do the field of medicine. Of course slashdot normally prefers to focus on the negatives rather than the positives.

Can be counterproductive (4, Insightful)

sphealey (2855) | more than 5 years ago | (#27288959)

> "Did you ever stop to think how silly and also how dangerous
> it is to live our lives with absolutely no monitoring of our
> body's medical status?

One thing you find as you get older and start having more tests, particularly if you have a doctor that likes to keep up with the latest research, is that each test you have for a specific parameter will also return results on 8-10 other parameters - that's just the way med labs are set up. And of those 8-10 parameters neither your doctor nor you intended to test at least one will be out-of-limits for your sex/age/weight/height. A little research in the latest medical data (by your doctor) or you (on the Internet) will quickly reveal that having parameter 7 out-of-limit can lead to immediate doom. Or not - the research is inconclusive.

So what do you do now? As I said every time you have a test you are going to come back with at least 1, and maybe more, new things to be concerned about. Should you start some sort of treatment for that out-of-limit condition? What side effects should you accept for treating something that was causing you no problems? What new conditions will be revealed every year when you are tested for the consequences of taking the treatment for the last revealed problem?

I saw in the WSJ about a year ago that the FDA was getting ready to approve 5 new reactive protein tests. Well, the c-reactive-protein test has been of some benefit in diagnosing early-stage heart disease. Maybe. Or maybe it has just increased sales of Lipitor(tm); no one is sure. What about these 5 new proteins? Should we all be tested for them? Why?

sPh

Re:Can be counterproductive (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27289269)

Mod parent up.

My wife is a surgical pathologist; an important rule of pathology is "Don't do a test if it will not affect therapy". In other words, you can always run lots of measurements, but you shouldn't if they aren't going to change your course of therapy.

Every test costs the patient time, money & pain. Each test also costs the doctor/technician/lab/hospital/insurance company time, money & paperwork.

In the evening, I watch my wife plow through patient files which are often a foot thick. (or, worse, are spread across a half-dozen different incompatable databases). The patient's condition is obscured by all this data.

Re:Can be counterproductive (0, Troll)

jamstar7 (694492) | more than 5 years ago | (#27289711)

Every test costs the patient time, money & pain. Each test also costs the doctor/technician/lab/hospital/insurance company time, money & paperwork.

Yup. Around here, medical malpractice suits are rampant, so the doctor's liability insurance goes through the roof unless they order piles of tests to cover their asses. The patient's insurance pays for them, so they bitch about unneeded tests designed to 'fish' for things to look at even closer just in case something happens and the patient's survivors decide to sue.

End result, the lawyers make money defending and suing doctors.

What I don't like about 24/7 realtime monitoring of me is, the extreme likelyhood (on the order of 99%+) of my insurance carrier starting to dictate my life. I've been smoking for 40 years, no cancer in sight even though cancer tends to run in my family (colon & lymph rather than lung or throat or oral), but I know damned good and well that since according to statistics, I'm 4 times more likely to get lung cancer than somebody who doesn't, my insurance will demand I stop smoking right fucking now or face cancellation. Doesn't matter that I choose to smoke, that I accept the risks. After all, I have a 0.056% chance per year of getting lung cancer (169,400 cases per year, 300 million US citizens, easy math).

Re:Can be counterproductive (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27289399)

Mod parent up. We have a saying, "if you feel healthy, you didn't visit the doctor often enough." Constantly monitoring every parameter of your body looks like a sure-fire way to develop a life-crippling case of hypochondria to me.

This'll be fun (1)

Kamrom (609839) | more than 5 years ago | (#27288983)

Once we get the bio-comp system installed, we can start letting it control introduction of the new designer drugs coming out. Then we'll be able to be fully functional supermen, until we burn out and explode. I for one welcome our new Juicer Masters.

You can have my vital signs ... (2, Funny)

Ihlosi (895663) | more than 5 years ago | (#27289029)

... when you pry them from my cold, dead body.

Analysis (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27289031)

my question is this. Do we have a method of effectively storing, quickly retrieving, and analyzing this data for it to be useful. The amount of data would be immense, and if we can't run real time reports on this, than it may become useless...

Welcome to 2020 ... (2, Informative)

Ihlosi (895663) | more than 5 years ago | (#27289067)

... where you're not going to die from a lot of causes that were common just ten years ago. The most common cause of death is now complications from implanting several pounds of electronics in your body, and while that's unfortunately enough to keep the mortality rate at just the same level, it's usually less painful.

Social Implications (1)

b4upoo (166390) | more than 5 years ago | (#27289071)

Disease is more than an individual issue. The idea of continuously updated, massive data bases can also have effects upon people who are not ill. For example a person building up to a heart attack behind the wheel of a truck is something we all need to be protected from. Perhaps we may one day be able to spot people who are about to go off the deep end with mental illness. That also might save more lives than just that of the disturbed person. And it goes without saying that illegal drug use and alcoholism could be knocked out with medical implants as well. Your body might dial 911 without you asking it to make the call.

Tried that, didn't work (;-)) (1)

davecb (6526) | more than 5 years ago | (#27289107)

As an example, the daily fluctuations in CPU utilization of hundreds of thousands of individual machines could be tracked and charted 24/7 to determine a baseline from which abnormalities and patterns could be extracted. The possibilities are enormous.

And, just to make it more fun, the metrics they collect will be the ones the developers needed, not the ones you need to manage the system. Or, worse, the ones that are easiest to measure.

That isn't to say that you won't be able to do some interesting statistical analyses, just that the data you really want will be buried in cubic yards of noise, or not measured at all. And when you ask for them, you'll be told that you should use what you have.

--dave

Just the begining (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27289131)

We start by using computers to monitor our health. These computers eventually become self-aware and take us over. Resistance is futile.

Dangerous (2, Insightful)

thethibs (882667) | more than 5 years ago | (#27289137)

Given that the state is responsible for the cost of your health care, getting the chip won't be voluntary. Needless to say, if the monitors detected something life-threatening, they'd have to be able to send someone to help you; that means they also have to know where you are.

We know where you are, we can read all your bio-signs, and we are mandated to protect our investment in health care. Don't run so fast. Keep it down to one orgasm. Put down that cigarette. That's your last coffee for today. Sound silly? Remember when we were silly to suggest they'd be banning smoking in bars next?

Yah--we really look forward to having our chips installed. Am I the only one who would prefer a long painful death?

Re:Dangerous (1)

jamstar7 (694492) | more than 5 years ago | (#27289819)

Given that the state is responsible for the cost of your health care,

Funny, I didn't know I was on Medicare. Coulda swore I was on Blue Cross.

Re:Dangerous (1)

thethibs (882667) | more than 5 years ago | (#27290039)

You must be American.

The possibilities are enormous. (1)

zoomshorts (137587) | more than 5 years ago | (#27289181)

I have your enormous possibility swinging between my legs.

Want to monitor it?

I don't think so (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27289193)

I actually used to monitor these things myself, and I found it led to a higher level of stress and even drove me to panic attacks. Monitoring anything extensively is obsession, and an obsession can make you neglect other things, such as mental health.

Will it have "remote disconnect" (1)

Animats (122034) | more than 5 years ago | (#27289219)

We just discovered that electric meters now come with not only remote reading, but "remote disconnect".

There will be pressure to put that into humans. Anybody who gets out of line could be "remotely disconnected".

We are borg... (1)

anthonymel (1434083) | more than 5 years ago | (#27289273)

Let the assimilation begin!

Good idea, but will be abused. (1)

Kayot (1446717) | more than 5 years ago | (#27289321)

Like all good idea's this one will become a nightmare for people. If you have ever use long term anti-depression drugs you know what I'm saying. Insurance companies will not insure you, nor can you get Life insurance policy's. This may save your life, but if you can't get a job or insurance, what quality of life are you going to lead. This is great for that top 5%, not only can they live longer, but they can decide if your just too high risk. Just like a neuron net, great idea, but who is in control and how much data are they allowed to have... Then years later, after they sue for the rights to have all data, your life is not just over, but that same monitoring equipment prevents suicide as well. There is no escape from hell.

Increasing human lifespan (1)

iqeaten (961308) | more than 5 years ago | (#27289325)

The continuous progress of research towards increasing human lifespan is of questionable benefit and certainly not grounded in models found in nature.

Death is as important to the survival of the human race -- and, for that matter, for the survival of life on this planet. With further and further research being done to combat the natural decay and death that accompanies human life, we run the risk of selfishly hogging the planet's resources, when it would be beneficial to the species to cede it to a next generation.

It is natural for individuals to wish to live longer lives, but it is unnatural -- and in my opinion counterproductive -- for an individual to wish all individuals live longer lives, or for a species to attempt to increase the lifespan of its members instead of concentrating on procreation, allowing nature to run its course.

I am all for technology that helps in decreasing the pain and suffering associated with death, but continuously monitoring the human body to find conditions that are mostly natural, and that are mostly lifestyle-based, and attempt to fix them with a view to adding a few years of life put a brake on human evolution and show little regard for following nature's model in such things.

tooth monitor (1)

chelsel (1140907) | more than 5 years ago | (#27289457)

I've always thought that it would be "easy" to replace one of your teeth, probably a molar, with the electronics that could monitor numerous vitals.

The Borg started with harmless medical implants! (1)

kawabago (551139) | more than 5 years ago | (#27289475)

There is an old saying that is appropriate here. If it ain't broke, don't fix it! Implants have side effects no matter how good they are. Development of non-invasive hand held diagnostic devices is a far better direction to explore. All we need is room temperature super conductors and who doesn't have some of that kicking around!

already getting there (1)

uniquegeek (981813) | more than 5 years ago | (#27289531)

My dad was in for pacemaker/defibrillator surgery last year, and I noticed there was a screen in the hallway which showed all the stats of the patients in the ward. I joked to my Dad that I should ask what protocol they were using so I could put real-time updates on his facebook page.

Not thinking things through (2, Interesting)

mbone (558574) | more than 5 years ago | (#27289629)

The possibilities are enormous.

Indeed. Maybe in 2050 our descendants will read

People look back and find it unbelievable that just a few short years ago hundreds of bodily vital signs were not continuously anticipated and monitored by medical implants for the majority of the populace. ... The huge amounts of data that are accumulated from millions of continuously monitored people are nothing short of a revolution for the control of the population and the detection of doubt and hostility to the thoughts of our beloved leader.

Already here for some of us (1)

Shefwed82 (653445) | more than 5 years ago | (#27289851)

I am a type 1 diabetic and wear a sensor 24/7 that monitors my blood sugar. I realize that this is a specialized case, but for certain things the technology and need already exists and are being used.

Stress level warnings (1)

Mishotaki (957104) | more than 5 years ago | (#27289891)

"sir please stop stressing over your stress level"

"sir your stress level is still rising"

"sir, i must stress, that if you stress level doesn't lower, your health might be in danger"

The matrix is everywhere? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27289977)

bad title! ;-)

Load More Comments
Slashdot Login

Need an Account?

Forgot your password?

Submission Text Formatting Tips

We support a small subset of HTML, namely these tags:

  • b
  • i
  • p
  • br
  • a
  • ol
  • ul
  • li
  • dl
  • dt
  • dd
  • em
  • strong
  • tt
  • blockquote
  • div
  • quote
  • ecode

"ecode" can be used for code snippets, for example:

<ecode>    while(1) { do_something(); } </ecode>