Forgot your password?
typodupeerror
Biotech Science

Microchip Could Replace Pills 185

Posted by michael
from the star-trek dept.
webhat writes "BBC News reports in an article that a microchip implanted in your body may be the end of swallowing pills. A microchip of a centimeter long was created with a sandwich coating of a drug (heparin) and a slow biodegrading polymer. As the polymer layer degrades the drug is released into the system."
This discussion has been archived. No new comments can be posted.

Microchip Could Replace Pills

Comments Filter:
  • Pills (Score:2, Interesting)

    by User8201 (573530)
    I wonder if the microchip catches a virus what THAT does -- could be lethal, right?
  • SYSTEM_FAILURE (Score:3, Insightful)

    by hendot (622445) on Monday October 20, 2003 @06:09AM (#7259036)
    The only problem would be that if it stuffed up, you could get an instant overdose :(
    • Considering how much stuff is already handled electronicly at hospitals, I trust medical engineers and that if the fda approves it then it will generally be safe.
    • "The only problem would be that if it stuffed up, you could get an instant overdose :( "

      Please spare us the obvious Microsoft joke. It won't be unexpected or funny.
  • Really, the way this is being implimented, how is it exactly different from pills anyway?
    • Unless is cheaper and easier to use, I see so advantage.
    • by Anonymous Coward
      A microchip could identify exactly which dose/drug you're on. Picture a current case where someone has say, a slow release antipsychotic implanted in the fat in their arm. Say that drug reacts badly with certain medication.

      Now, our antipsychotic friend is put in hospital after a severe car accident and needs quick treatment, but is given the drug that interacts badly with their medication. *bing* they die.

      Or, with the microchip in there, a quick scan over their body can show JUST which antipsychotic they'
      • Of course, if an employer scans you for undesirable medication that they don't like (antipsychotics, birth control pills, antidepressants, mood stabilisers) that opens another can of worms.

        I would have thought an employer would be pleased to hire a woman on birth control. Women are discriminated against by employers if they're young and potentially able to fall pregnant.
      • A microchip could identify exactly which dose/drug you're on.

        Not if you RTFA.

        It seems here they're using the term microchip as in, "A tiny thin thing", not anything electronic at all.

        I'm guessing that they're using circuit board-making technology -- etching small groves in a silicon wafer -- to make these drug containers.

        But the chips have no electronics at all, no semiconductors, no nothing. Their sole use is in containing the drug.

        I don't see microchips being able to make the kind of diagnoses you
        • > I don't see microchips being able to make the kind of diagnoses you impart to it -- analyzing the drug chemicals in a system generally requires a lot of reactive tests, right? Something an isolated chip couldn't do, probably.

          Sure, one side of the chip just has drugs, but if the other side has an RFID or something with a drug ID code, the patient can be scanned, presto, they know the (prescribed) drugs they are on and can see that something they did (or were about to do) would interact & remedy the
    • by Davak (526912) on Monday October 20, 2003 @06:40AM (#7259129) Homepage
      As a doc, I say this would be wonderful.

      Taking multiple pills a day can really decrease one's quality of life. Taking medicines with different schedules can be impossible for even the smartest of patients.

      Medicine has advanced that we can really improve quality of life (and usually length of life) for the majority of diseases...

      However one of the biggest problems we face is getting the patient to actually take his/her medications!

      I can see this plan taking the following course:
      1. Doc visit and prescription of an oral medication(s)
      2. Patient returns for follow-up, adjustment of dosing, and screening for side effects
      3. Repeat step 2 until patient is at steady state
      4. Schedule implant
      5. Continue to adjust doses as needed.

      Of course, the next logical steps are chips that release medicines based on the detection of biological markers. If it detects the pro-BNP level is elevated... it releases some diuretics. If it detects the serum glucose is too high, it releases some insulin.

      I know how much medicine has changed in just my years of practice... this is just one more advance that we will one day wonder how we lived without.

      Davak

      • 5. Continue to adjust doses as needed.

        If I've understood the article, once the chip is in, it's impossible to adjust the delivery schedule, which depends on the rate at which the coating dissolves.

        One thing that really worries me is that the chip can't be reloaded. The patient needs to have the chip replaced regularly. Isn't each replacement a minor surgery? I know about the difficulty of getting people to follow a regimen, but a recurring minor surgery seems a steep price to pay in exchange. If they cou

    • By calling them microchips, they charge 100 times more for these "implantable devices."

      Davak
    • The problem is the article doesnt even address the issue of why pills are so common and popular route of administration. Administering a pill is the most cheap and easy way a person can get a medication.

      Planting a chip into a patient has many complications associated with it. It will require some form of invasive procedure. So then what is the difference from this and lets say one of the other slow releasing medication techniques such as a patch or an injection. While the injections may be absorbed qui
    • The article is mostly hype.

      If you notice, the researchers picked heparin as their trial drug. There's a good reason for this, heparin cannot be taken orally and must be injected several times a day. Compared to several injections a day, you quickly see how an implanted microchip would win out. Insulin for diabetics would be another great application.

      In the real world, few people would pick something that's implanted over an oral pill. How many women you know are on Norplant? Nope, they're all still t
  • Finally (Score:1, Funny)

    by ultrabot (200914)
    BBC News reports in an article that a microchip implanted in your body may be the end of swallowing pills.

    Finally! The last obstacle to the ascendance of human race to a godlike status, namely, swallowing pills, is conquered. This is indeed a great day to be alive!
  • Upgrades.
  • by fruey (563914) on Monday October 20, 2003 @06:11AM (#7259042) Homepage Journal
    The chip's surface is covered in little grooves, where drugs can be loaded.

    It is then covered with different types of polymer which slowly biodegrade releasing each dose at a different time.

    The different types of polymer degrade at different rates, but what we do not have here is polymers activated by some kind of electronic pulse that is controlled by some mini operating system / timer chip. This is just clever dissolving stuff, not some mini robot or electronic activation of dose release.

    They're just using the word 'microchip' in the same way you might advertise microchips as fries that you can cook in your microwave oven. Bah!

  • Glossing Over.... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Vengie (533896) on Monday October 20, 2003 @06:12AM (#7259045)
    Ugh. The article is incredibly terse and glosses right over internal trauma. Sure, if all is peachy-perfect, but what happens when you're in an accident and your little chip gets smashed in the process, instantly releasing the entire contained dosages into your bloodstream. Simply fabulous. You'd think people would have learned from silicon, and even from the occasional problems with the in-your-arm-time-release-birth-control products. Is anyone really willing to make these tradeoffs? [Sure, go ahead, argue that this could be useful for non-trivial drugs for which massive dosages wouldn't matter.....if there is a drug you /should/ be taking every day, there should also be a lifestyle change that should reflect that....]

    disclaimer: both my parents are pharmacists. i read too much of their continuing ed crud.
    • You'd think people would have learned from silicon, and even from the occasional problems with the in-your-arm-time-release-birth-control products. Is anyone really willing to make these tradeoffs?

      Ask a girl who's on implanon if they're willing to go back to the regular pill. Every girl I know with it would probably say no.
    • by gordlea (258731)
      If you're in an accident where the impact was hard enough to shatter a tiny microchip inside your body (say: your parachute didn't open), I'd say you've got bigger problems.
    • if there is a drug you /should/ be taking every day, there should also be a lifestyle change that should reflect that....

      Why is that? I have to take Allegra everyday for allergies. Even a mega-overdose wouldn't kill me. I read overdose information + look up online all the meds I get prescribed before I take them, and I've found quite a few are like that. Your "lifestyle change" theory is beyond me. I would also be willing to bet, more people die a year due to human error when dosing themselves, th
    • Sure, if all is peachy-perfect, but what happens when you're in an accident and your little chip gets smashed in the process, instantly releasing the entire contained dosages into your bloodstream.

      And, or course, a trauma that can smash the chip but would be otherwise survivable is sooooo much more likely than, say, my grandmother forgetting to take one of her dozen daily medications (of which heparin is one).

      • I just spent last night watching the trauma/ER block of Discover's Health channel's Sunday night programming. I think you'd be surprised just how much horrific damage the human body can survive with modern surgical techniques. One person had a car accident with a chain link fence that resulted in a hollow metal pole being driven into his chest. His right lung collapsed, his collarbone snapped in two, and the artery pumping blood into his arm was completely severed for several hours before it could be rea
        • > die a horrible death of hemorraging. This could be more harm than good to the average person

          Hmm, horrible hemmoraging death vs. a fully-functioning "average" person. Yeah, I'd say that's more harm than good. The problem with your statement, however, is twofold (maybe more, this is just what I'm thinking at the moment):

          1. These things are pretty small, which means there would have to be a significant amount of force in exactly the right place to cause it to break. This includes the fact that skin s
          • You are probably correct on both accounts. I reread the description of the chip, and it seems that the physically layout is different from what I first thought it was. I had assumed that a clean break in the chip would most likely open up several grooves simultaneously and that this would lead to an overdose. It seems that it's likely that opening several grooves along a line is actually part of the design of how it releases drugs, so this is unlikely, as you say, to release more than a 2-3x dose.

            I with
  • Microchip? (Score:2, Insightful)

    It is then covered with different types of polymer which slowly biodegrade releasing each dose at a different time.

    Where is the microchip? This sounds just like a typical retarded-release pill.

  • Microchip? (Score:4, Informative)

    by mumblestheclown (569987) on Monday October 20, 2003 @06:13AM (#7259051)
    Really? I always thought of a microchip as something with, well, ICs in it or something. From what I'm understanding from the (very very short) article, this works via simple physical chemistry - polymer layers erode over time thus 'time releasing' what's under the next layer. presumably there are different thickness polymer layers depending on how often the medication needs to be delivered.


    Unless I'm really missing something here, I fail to see how this qualifies as a microchip in the sense that we commonly refer to it as.

    • "Really? I always thought of a microchip as something with, well, ICs in it or something."

      I sort of got the impression that the chip controls the release of the polymers some how. Granted, they didn't actually say that, but it strikes me that they needed the chip for timing when this stuff was released.

      Then again, I'm sleep deprived. Heh. I mean, it's not like they're going to install a tiny little pump with moving parts.
  • Didn't they have something like this before but for Birth Control pills? And where does the 'Microchip' come in? It seems like the polymer does all the work adjusting the dosage by
    slowly biodegrading..

    Anyways, I'd rather swallow pills than have a Microchip stuck into my body. While this could be very useful for people using addictive drugs like Morphine (the 'patient' would always have the same dosage, and wouldn't be able to do more than their normal dose), I don't know if it would catch on for other medi
  • but..... (Score:1, Funny)

    by Anonymous Coward
    do they run Linux?
    • No, they might run ITRON [www.ertl.jp] :P

    • Yes, and addicts even run a whole Beowulf cluster of them!


      ...sorry.

      • Despite the parent's satirical nature, this does bring up an interesting idea. If illegal drugs could be provided this way... So an addict goes to a dealer who (with probably less than perfect surgical techniques) runs a shop to implant a time-release version of crack into the addict...

        The dealer could even have slightly increasing dosages released each cycle. :)

        I think I'm developing a very sick mind.
        • > I think I'm developing a very sick mind.

          Muwahaha, that's only the first step, young jedi... er something. Anyway, while that sounds fun and all (Who wouldn't want 20 days-worth of time-released LSD? Oooh, and lots of Pop Rocks too), I don't think too many people would jump on that bandwagon. I'd be first on, of course, but from the drug culture I know (admittedly, not crack) most like to do things in their own pace, like a drug ritual. Time release would be nice at first, but it would get old pre
  • The body is not a 'static problem', but a 'dynamic process'. (Okay, no kill -9 jokes, please).A microchip, despite all the possible intelligence, does not take into account that the body is (rather should be) capable of taking care of itself. -
    • I don't quite get what you are saying.

      A logical extention of your idea, to my mind, is that we shouldn't have doctors, because "the body is (rather should be) capable of taking care of itself."

      Microchips would simply be another tool for those cases where the body *cannot* take care of itself properly without outside help.
    • Well then, we'll just have to leave that sucking gunshot wound to the chest alone... afterall, the body is capable of taking care of itself.

      The human body is not always capable of taking care of itself. A hundred years ago people died of polio, smallpox, fairly minor bacterial infections, etc. - all easily preventable or treatable now.
    • the body is (rather should be) capable of taking care of itself.

      Except that when it's not able to take care of itself, we get sick and die. For those of us who desire to live healthy lives, we have invented modern medicine to surpass the initial limitations of our bodies.

      Nature solves problems by the strongest living. Humans are individuals, and like to solve the problem of continuing their own individual lives.
    • The body is not a 'static problem', but a 'dynamic process'. (Okay, no kill -9 jokes, please).A microchip, despite all the possible intelligence, does not take into account that the body is (rather should be) capable of taking care of itself.

      Therapeutic drugs are used when the body's systems for "taking care of itself" fail, a situation known as "disease." For the most part, drugs are administered in such a way as to keep the amount of drug in the bloodstream fairly constant. The first generation of drug

  • So, you have to get this thing implanted in your body in order for it to release the stuff into your bloodstream... So, what's the advantage of having this thing instead of, say, a dermal patch? (Besides not having a patch on your body...)

    Seems to me that this thing would be quite annoying. You'd have to make sure you didn't fall on it, you'd have to go through the initial pain of getting it in there, etc. Why?

    -- Dr. Eldarion --
  • HIV in Africa (Score:5, Insightful)

    by panurge (573432) on Monday October 20, 2003 @06:34AM (#7259116)
    It isn't a "microchip" but I wonder if the grooves are fabricated using the same kind of technology.

    This could be extremely useful in treating AIDS and tuberculosis in the 3rd world. Apart from the problems of many 3rd world people in ensuring that drugs are taken continuously, there is the risk that they will sell drugs or have them stolen by other sufferers who are not being treated. I do not know how dosage would stack up against feasibility, but the principle looks sound. There's also the possibility of slowly releasing chemotherapy right into tumors.

    Obviously any new technology is going to have risks, but if people are going to die of something without treatment, and existing means of delivery are unreliable or worse, surely this has to be worth pursuing.

  • How is that a microchip? It's just slowly degrading polymer with drugs in it. Well, I may have misunderstood the definition of a microchip, but I figured that you'd need some sort of electrical binary logic processing going on for you to be able to call your piece of hardware an actual "microchip".
  • End of prohibition. (Score:5, Interesting)

    by ahfoo (223186) on Monday October 20, 2003 @06:34AM (#7259120) Journal
    While this particular device may not be what I'm thinking, I've long assumed that government prohibitions against drugs will eventually be made irrelevant by similar technologies.
    So much of the furor over "drug abuse" is truly about drug dosage and unhygenic methods of taking them.
    The whole argument against, for instance, coke, heroin and amphetamines becomes quite different when you take out overdoses, needles and high temperature pipes.
    At that point you're left arguing against euphoria from the obviously puritanical moral position that really does underlie many people's attitude's towards drug use. But, while those people will remain, by getting separating off the social evils of bad hygeine, dangerous paraphenalia and the medical compications of overdose, it should be much easier to win the majority over to the side of free choice.
    But it's not really going to be necessary to win people over, because just as the next generation of doage devices are maturing, so are micro labs. Chemical engineering is seeing a huge revolution in on-chip synthesis. It's obviously just a matter of time before illicit drug labs on-a-chip make their way into the consumer market. And coupled with new dosage devices, that's a good thing as far as I'm concerned.
    It may be the only way to knock out the money element in the drugs trade which I personally feel is the single greatest source of damage and destruction to human life in the whole prohibition game.
    • How exactly would you end overdoses with time release pills? If one pill releases x amount per hour, 10 pills releases 10x. If you can put the drug in your body, you can overdose.

      Besides, hygene and dosage pale in comparison to the fact that coke and heroin are massively addictive and suck people into a spiral of poverty and crime. That's a little worse than some holes in the arm.

      • Actually Heroin is relatively harmless in controlled doses. The problem is with distribution and purity. You often hear of doctors who've been on Heroin for years with nobody noticing, until an audit catches them out and they wind up in jail...

        The *major* issue with hard drugs is hygene and dosage. The crime/poverty thing is caused largely by the systems we put around it (criminalising the drug taker, for example, who never gets help because to ask for help would be to get sent to jail for being in pose
        • The crime/poverty thing is caused largely by the systems we put around it (criminalising the drug taker, for example, who never gets help because to ask for help would be to get sent to jail for being in posession of the drug!).

          I understand that there's nothing intrinsically crime/poverty causing about the drug itself, but I don't see where having a pill form would suddenly change the a) legality or b) societal system of hard drugs.

          If we had a true way of controlling dosage and purity, and made it legal

        • Of course with Heroin there's the slight little issue that most people addicted to it are incapable of controlling the dosage. Heroin is pretty special in that overdoses tend to skyrocket when heroin prices on the street drop, because the heavy users use more and more, as they usually limit their usage depending on how much money they manage to get hold of (whether or not they cross enough barriers to rob people for it, or not). Which is also one of the reasons the reducing crime/poverty argument by legalis
    • Dewd, this is the second best post, EVER. Only slightly more coherent than the actual article, this post takes non-sequitor tangentiality and runs with it.

      You got me with "Drug lab on-a-chip."
      • Thanks, I was stretching the association a bit but I appreciate the props either way.
        As for drug lab on-a-chip If you have time try Googling capillary electrochromatography. It's the next step in chromatography and these days it's being used for large scale purification and separation, not just analysis, of all sorts of things. There's a quiet revolution going on in chemical engineering and it's happening at a small scale. The DEA is already using it to try and find similarities between batches of spee
        • Any coherent response will have to wait 'till I filter these ideas through my biophysicist buddy in Frisco (cuz I don't mind pestering him with my dumb questions).

          Thanks for giving my mind something new to chew on.
    • At that point you're left arguing against euphoria from the obviously puritanical moral position that really does underlie many people's attitude's towards drug use. But, while those people will remain, by getting separating off the social evils of bad hygeine, dangerous paraphenalia and the medical compications of overdose, it should be much easier to win the majority over to the side of free choice.

      Sure, I'll bite. I'm all for free choice.

      If you came up with a way that you could spend your days sitt

    • The whole argument against, for instance, coke, heroin and amphetamines becomes quite different when you take out overdoses, needles and high temperature pipes.

      True for heroin, false for cocaine, questionable for amphetamines. There is nothing particularly hazardous about a crack pipe (so long as you aren't trying to freebase the cocaine yourself). But cocaine is an inherently dangerous drug, being both intensely habit-forming and carrying with it a substantial risk of heart attack and stroke.

  • I don't know about you, but I'm not up to swallowing a Plll! One of those VIA nano-BGA C3's maybe. Anyhow, Plll's are obsolete now.

  • I remember watching this very same concept on the anime series Serial Experiments Lain, but there, the microchip was actually a powerful drug sought after in the black market.

    I believe this is an accurate view of the future, because patients could automatically follow a doctor's prescription using a microchip like this.

    I myself have been yelled at several times by my doctor for not taking my medication on time, and I bet drug addicts would die to have something that takes care for them getting their dose
  • Won't pass FDA (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Graemee (524726)
    So, how do you get it out if you have a reaction to the medication? Vomit? No, then Xacto or Dremel?
    • Have you seen "A beautiful mind"? (If not go and rent it ASAP). Pay special attention to the scene where our hero tries to get out that numeric code thingy from his wrist. That's the way to handle negative reactions...
    • Simple, you don't proscribe one of these things right off the bat. You start the person on something more conventional like a pill or injection (injection assumes a hospital setting where a bad reaction could be dealt with). If the person does okay on the other delivery method, they can then switch to the implanted slow-release "chip."
    • So, how do you get it out if you have a reaction to the medication? Vomit? No, then Xacto or Dremel?
      The FDA has already approved forms of implantable sustained-release medication, so this is just an improved technology for doing something that is already routinely done. You can check for reactions before going to an implantable form of a drug--and if worse comes to worst, it's not really that big a deal to cut it out.
  • by schmack (32384) on Monday October 20, 2003 @07:32AM (#7259257)
    Let's be real -- the artical talks about HIV treatments and the like, but I can imagine this chip being a _lot_ more expensive than standard gel caps or pressed pills. I don't see African countries shelling out for this, when even standard medication is a blue sky concept for them (about the only thing they have plenty of).

    Medicine is damn expensive, and maybe I'm overly cynical, but I can't see the big pharmaceutical companies getting all altruistic on us any time in the foreseeable future.
    • by TomV (138637)
      Two points - firstly, although you make a good point about the relative costs of the new 'chip' versus standard pills, it's not a comparison between the price of one chip and one pill but rather between the price of 1 chip and 140 pills, which should at least narrow the gap somewhat. Though probably not all the way.

      Secondly, the drug used in the tests was Heparin, an anticoagulant. I don't know about Heparin, but I know that Warfarin, another anticoagulant, is something my Mum's had to take twice a day e
      • reducing the memory requirement from 2-pills-a-day to one-chip-per-7-months

        I'm not so sure about that one. If you take the pills twice a day, it's easy to get into a routine. Wake up, breakfast, pills. Pills, brush teeth, bed.

        If it's twice a year, it's not as much of a routine to get into. Especially if you travel - "Oh shit, I need to get my medicine refilled, but I'll be in Timbuktu for that entire week". How much of a grace period do these chips allow for? Are they removed at refill time, or do

  • just imagine what would happen if you'd use one of these babies to fuel our caffeine addiction
  • this reminds me of Seria Experiments Lain...
    And I thought to myself, "what? swallow a chip?"...
    well, I must admint I havent read the article :P, so I dont trully know if the chip is swallowed, but given its coated with some sort of drig, what are the chances?

    Anyway, "anyone knows what OS will it be running?"
  • The Matrix (Score:1, Funny)

    by 7*6 (258602)
    Neo, you can take the red microchip or the blue microchip...

    Just doesn't have the same ring to it.
  • But seriously, this could be an interesting breakthrough provided the technology is stable. Having a delivery problem could be deadly. While it would be beneficial to chronically ill people that would otherwise be forced to take pills for the rest of their lives, I think they need to improve on the 140 day dose limit. Depending on the invasiveness of the procedure, having to do it every 4 to 5 months could be though of as annoying. I think if they could get it up to a year, it would be much easier to ex
    • rtfa

      not computer controlled, just a degrading polymer

      I hope you arent in charge of implanting one of these.

      "Are you sure it goes there"

      "Yes...all microchips go in the CPU --- the 'brain'!"

      • Yes, I did read the article, fully, before responding. The title was just a joke. However, just because it is a polymer does not mean it is a bulletproof delivery system. I would hate to think you have such blind trust in a new system.

        What if every once in a while one of these has a problem with the polymer degrading too fast due to a manufacturing problem? "Oh, so sorry you had an overdose resulting in your death. We'll give you your money back"

    • There are several cool/disturbing potentials for this kind of thing. Some are nifty is a "Down and Out in the Magic Kindom" kind of way. Use nano-implants to control your medicine dosage. Wake up and feel a little queazy? *Blink* - administered [X]mg of [anti-nausea] medication. What about diabetics? And, like you mention, Viagra? It would definitely remove any stigmata/embarrassment from taking medication publicly.

      On the other hand, I think back to "Brave New World" kind of literature, and then it
      • by tommck (69750)
        This thread has RTFA written all over it!

        • LOL. I read the article. But it turned out to be rather boring, so I decided to run with this "what if it really was a microchip (controller)?"
        • How about TAFJ - Take a f**king joke. Which is exactly what the title was. I read the article fully.

          Polymers aren't foolproof. A slight manufacturing fault and this could cause a massive overdose.

  • I checked out the Nature Materials website and found this abstract [nature.com] that has the same info as the article. Apparently the author was as cheap as I am and didn't fork over the $30 US to see the full text.
  • ERROR-1341: Error supplying stroke dossage, not enough memory, please consult your nearest vendor.
  • Would this be usable on someone who gets heartburn a lot? Would too much stomach acid would release too much of the drug too early?
  • I can see what the spammers will do with this:

    "Satisfy her with your 20" king kong schlong with a the new PEN1S C,HIP!!. No need to take pills. Also works as hair restorer and lets you play "backups" on your PlayStation 3".
  • I was confused briefly until I read the body text... I thought the P4 replaced the PiII a while ago.
  • ...That microchip pill will be the perfect match for this damn robot in my tooth.
  • Scientists at [Research organization] have found a new way to do [common task]! Could this spell the end of [age-old solution]? [Age-old solution] is dead!

    What does this translate to? Maybe 5 or 10 years from now we'll start to see this being taken seriously by doctors. In 15 years it may be common practice in isolated situations. Our society doesn't move anywhere near as fast as technological innovation, and it never has.
  • Miracle Pills! (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Dun Malg (230075) on Monday October 20, 2003 @08:54AM (#7259601) Homepage
    You know, I'm getting a little tired of the ever-increasing "miracle pill" culture that has taken over much of modern medicine. We just keep getting more and more pills, all of them focused on treating narrower groups of symptoms, but rarely addressing the actual problem. For example: in college I was diagnosed as being severely depressed. About all they had then was Lithium-- which is more of a mood poisoner than a mood stabilizer-- and that helped, even if it did kind of zombify me. I eventually felt better and stopped taking the nasty crap and had no serious problems. That is, not until 10 years later when I became depressed again. This time they put me on Zoloft. It worked more subtly than Lithium, but the side effects were almost as bad. I tried that crap for a while, but it didn't feel like it was really solving the problem. SO I kept my eyes open for other treatment paths. I finally went to see a Traditional Chinese Medicine practitioner who examined me for five minutes and solved the problem. He told me to quit taking the Zoloft, 'cause I wasn't depressed, I was just tired. As it turns out I have a narrowed nasal cavity that causes sleep apnea and I'd never had a good night's sleep in my life. It explained everything. After some minor nasal surgery I sleep fine and I'm no longer "depressed". It just pisses me off that in 20-odd years of going to doctors for depression, they all reached straight for their Rx pad and didn't notice that I couldn't breathe through my nose!

    Mind you, I'm not one of those nuts who thinks all pills are bad. They have their applications. I'm just sick of doctors looking at every problem as something to be medicated. It's understandable, what with the big PharmaCorps out there pushing their particular products, but it leads to the classic single-solution problem: when all you have is a hammer, all problems start to look like nails.

    • No doubt. I went to a walk-in clinic because of a horrible pain running from my mid-back to my jaw. A 30-second 'examination' said that I was sitting badly at work, I should adjust my chair and take these muscle relaxants. End of appointment.

      Three days later, I was in emergency, unable to close my mouth. I had an abcessed tooth, which had lead to my back problems. I then got put on the RIGHT pills (antibiotics--I'm not a fan, but in certain cases they're absolutely necessary), and went for dental surgery l
  • Isn't one of the big problems with new strains of diseases is that folks don't finish their drug regimen thus increasing the probability of a drug-resistant version?

    This could really help out. I think to a certain point saying "finish your meds" is the same as "say no to drugs". Yeah it's easy to say but difficult in practice. If you're bed-bound at home with a 102 fever, it isn't hard to remember to take your pill every 6 hours. But once you're better, back at work, and trying to make up for the sick
  • Talk about making the cure worse than the disease!!!

    A microchip... *IMPLANTED* in your body?

    Taking pills is easier... it's already painless, and the so called "human error" factor generally isn't *THAT* bad.

    Now these guys are talking about taking a system that, imperfect though it may be, and introducing what would clearly be a delicate surgery into the equation. Not to mention that either this surgery would have to be repeated with each prescription refill or else plugs would have to be attached t

  • unless its a sign of Armageddon!!!
  • Polymer Drug Sandwich. *drool*

  • Of monitoring all your movements and intake of chemicals, so it can be reported back the next time you walk past a street post.

fortune: not found

Working...