AL: Implant allows doctors to monitor heart over Internet : LUSENET : Grassroots Information Coordination Center (GICC) : One Thread

Here's a benign story concerning Digital Angel
technology. It's future uses are what scares me :-§

BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (AP) -- Researchers at the University
of Alabama at Birmingham are studying an implant that
allows a doctor to check a patient's heart over the Internet.

. . .

The small device, called the Chronicle, is implanted in the
chest. It monitors pressures on the left and right sides of
the heart and in arteries going to the lungs.

A patient with the Chronicle implant waves a wand
containing a computer chip over the chest. The computer
gathers information from the implant, and the patient sends
the data by telephone to a secure Internet site. A doctor
goes to the site and checks on the patient's heart function.

Alabama Live

-- spider (, November 16, 2000


More Digital Angel news.

CIA-backed wireless networking start-up
gets new CEO

CIA-backed start-up La Graviton has spotted
its future leader in the form of ex-US West
exec Sol Trujillo.

. . .

The company is aiming flog its wireless
sensor networks to businesses and consumers
alike, with uses including gas leak alerts
and tracking patients' health through remote
monitoring devices.

The Register

-- spider (, November 17, 2000.

The only interesting "new" aspect in this story (but clearly what caught the reporter's/editors' attention) is the use of the Internet to allow physicians simpler access to the data. Use of computers (via plain old modems and phone lines) to send occasional monitoring data is quite old news, both in the cardiac field and elsewhere, and outside of medicine too.

This isn't my own speciality, but it is clearly in common use. Many implanted pacemakers, for example, have a capability to send EKG data for analysis. In many cases the patient simply holds the phone over the battery pack/controller just under their skin on their chest wall.

In a more complicated example, my neighbor with a heart condition was awaiting a transplant (he died last month, unfortunately, but it wasn't the technology that did him in!). He was given a home device for temporary use, basically a dedicated computer/modem setup, that could read his pacemaker and several other monitoring devices. When directed, he could send BP, EKG, and some other data via a dedicated phone number at the medical center. He used it once a day, as I recall. From time to time my wife and I, both physicians, would get called over in the middle of the night to help him with minor medical crises--but fortunately never to reboot the data-sending device, which seemed to work flawlessly for him right up to the end.

Similarly, I have a water-softener gizmo in my basement that can be put in diagnostic mode and a phone held up to a speaker, as in the old original modems, so that the water company can get data remotely if needed to diagnose or fix a fault. And of course all sorts of devices, from furnaces to coin-operated soda machines, can be plugged into the phone lines for automatic contact with a central station.

None of this is the same, in my mind, to the Digital Angel approach, which indeed has scary aspects.

-- Andre Weltman (, November 17, 2000.

None of this is the same, in my mind, to the Digital Angel approach, which indeed has scary aspects.

This is exactly a result of Digital Angel research whether
it is the same in your mind or not. The use of the internet
is not new at all. It was part of the early examples of uses.

Last week, Applied Digital Solutions (ADS) was granted a patent to develop a device called “Digital Angel®.” This device would be small enough to implant just under the skin, or embed in valuable possessions or priceless artwork. When embedded under a person’s skin, it would be powered electromechanically, by muscle movement. It could be activated by the wearer, and it could also be activated by remote control.

This device would have several implications. The company has suggested that it could be used to find lost children, stranded hikers, and military and diplomatic personnel. It could also be used to monitor some vital signs and signal in case of a medical emergency. The primary thrust, however, is to improve security for e-commerce.

Commenting on Digital Angel's many potential applications, Richard J. Sullivan, Chairman and CEO of Applied Digital Solutions, Inc. (ADS), said: "We believe its potential for improving individual and e-business security and enhancing the quality of life for millions of people is virtually limitless. Although we're in the early developmental phase, we expect to come forward with applications in many different areas, from medical monitoring to law enforcement.

Digital Angel™ measures bodily parameters. It does not interact with the body chemically or biologically. Designed to be completely harmless, Digital Angel will not interfere with bodily functions in any way.

Digital Angel

-- spider (, November 17, 2000.

re: Digital Angel: My mistake, I was thinking of something else. Thanks for posting the informative article WITH GRAPHIC, nice.

-- Andre Weltman (, November 17, 2000.

One other point though: spider, you observe that the Internet aspect is not new. OK, but then I'm missing something. Why is this a news item at all? (Not questioning your posting, rather why this was newsworthy to the Associated Press?) I guess I saw stuff used routinely in my undistinguished medical training a decade ago, as well as already in common use now, that is only now hitting the news? Or is there something else in this technology that is truly new, then, and was picked up by AP?


-- Andre Weltman (, November 17, 2000.

I'm not familiar with the uses that you
brought up. ADS got a patent on this late
last year and predicted that they would
produce the first usable product at the end
of this year. As far as I know, this is the
first implanted chip to be used in this way.
So it is a new story. Implanted pacemakers
are not quite the same. This technology will
be used mostly by the military and law

Also another difference between the pacemaker
and the DA technology is that the DA chip will
be used for locating the user from satellites.

-- spider (, November 17, 2000.

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