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Medicine Biotech Science

Body 2.0 — Continuous Monitoring of the Human Body 330

Posted by Soulskill
from the invest-now-before-the-body-bubble-bursts dept.
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."
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Body 2.0 — Continuous Monitoring of the Human Body

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  • No (Score:3, Insightful)

    by seanadams.com (463190) * on Sunday March 22, 2009 @01:17PM (#27288755) Homepage

    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.

    • 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 (Score:5, Funny)

        by Linker3000 (626634) on Sunday March 22, 2009 @01:54PM (#27289087) Journal
        "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."
        • by bencoder (1197139)
          sounds pretty useful to me, personally.
        • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

          by Skal Tura (595728)

          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 appoint

        • Re:No (Score:5, Funny)

          by Jurily (900488) <jurily.gmail@com> on Sunday March 22, 2009 @03:11PM (#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 (Score:4, Insightful)

      by kraemate (1065878) on Sunday March 22, 2009 @01:33PM (#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.

      • by creimer (824291)
        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: (Score:3, Interesting)

          by kraemate (1065878)

          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.

          • by Ihlosi (895663)
            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: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by clarkkent09 (1104833)
          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.
          • by Ihlosi (895663)
            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: (Score:3, Interesting)

            by creimer (824291)
            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.
        • by artor3 (1344997)

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

        • by spineboy (22918)

          Some people are genetically predisposed to acquire diabetes or hypertension - even if your eat super healthy food, exercise, etc.

      • >>>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 (Score:5, Insightful)

        by Bobb9000 (796960) on Sunday March 22, 2009 @02:04PM (#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: (Score:3, Insightful)

          You believe you have an impact on government? Then you're numerically- and politically-naive, at best (so, I will guess you are a college student).

          Voting is individually-irrational -- even if it is collectively the least-bad political option yet-devised (it beats dictatorship in its ability to deliver human freedom and modern societal outcomes).

          Take a hypothetical voting population of 100 people - you are 1 of that 100. Assume 51% voter turnout.

          Of the 51 people voting, assume 26 voted Republican, 24 voted

      • There's a huge difference between asking for help in an emergency and being so paranoid that you need 24/7 monitoring.
    • by creimer (824291)
      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 (Score:4, Insightful)

        by commodore64_love (1445365) on Sunday March 22, 2009 @01:51PM (#27289047) Journal

        >>>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 (Score:5, Informative)

          by w0mprat (1317953) on Sunday March 22, 2009 @04:06PM (#27290497)

          When the government gives you taxpayer-supported healthcare, the government also has the right to run your life

          Not true. I live in a country with publicly funded healthcare. It seems statements such as yours are FUD and rhetoric from the private healthcare industry since it clearly not how things actually work out. Clearly totally private healthcare as implemented in the USA does not work. The advantage of of public healthcare is everybody has access to it, and are get care based on need, not on wealth class or race, which is what inevitably happens with an private insurance based system.

          So presumably, you trust big corporates more than a government?

          Don't get me wrong though, public healtcare has problems, especially in terms of limited resources in the UK, various EU members, Australia, New Zealand, Canada, etc. But somehow these nations rank much higher in health standards that the USA.

          For-profit health care is beholden to a financial bottom line, not a democratic government mandated to measure performance on care, not revenue. So in private vs public the latter is the lesser of two evils.

          • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

            by yndrd1984 (730475)

            Clearly totally private healthcare as implemented in the USA does not work.

            Just to be clear, we don't have totally private healthcare here. The government covers about 40% of us, most of the rest get coverage through work, and only a small fraction actually buy health insurance on its own. This allows us to enjoy healthcare as unequally distributed as a full-blown free market system, as bureaucratic and unresponsive as any large government system, and as expensive as both put together.

          • Rather than have Uncle Sam Healthcare, or Corporate health insurance, I prefer to pay my bills as they happen. So far by not buying insurance I've saved $5000 * 36 years == $180,000. I spend $100-200 a year on my health, so reduce that to ~$170,000 saved.

            >>>you trust big corporates more than a government?

            Absolutely not. I hate corporations. But at least I have the option to not hand them my money w/o fear of getting tossed into jail. Corporations offer the freedom of choice; the U.S. Congress

        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by speedtux (1307149)

          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.

          Well, I can't find anything corroborating those claims. But assuming they are true, most likely, there aren't "mandatory diets" but simply either/or choices: either you go on a diet or you lose your government health care. And that's something I'd fully support: if you refuse reasonable treatments, then your health insurance shouldn't b

        • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

          by achurch (201270)

          Japan already has mandatory diets for those with BMI>30.

          Not quite true. The relevant law mandates metabolic syndrome checks for people aged 40-74 [e-gov.go.jp], and it catches [e-gov.go.jp] people with (1) waist size >= 85cm (90cm for women) or BMI >= 25 and (2) high blood pressure, high cholesterol, or high blood sugar. Supposedly there's a financial penalty for not taking the exam, or for not following the directions (diet, etc.) you're given, but I haven't been able to find any specific mention of such.

      • Re:No (Score:5, Insightful)

        by seanadams.com (463190) * on Sunday March 22, 2009 @01:51PM (#27289051) Homepage

        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!

        • by Gothmolly (148874)

          You have proved the PP's point. Those things are BAD, or have you forgotten your civics?

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Jurily (900488)

      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.

      • 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.

    • by eh2o (471262)

      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.

    • 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? (Score:5, Insightful)

      by wurp (51446) on Sunday March 22, 2009 @03:36PM (#27290107) Homepage

      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.)

    • by rastilin (752802)

      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.

      I disagree completely. I love being alive and I want to do as much as possible. Also, I don't equate being alive with being in danger. Therefore, if something will improve my survival without having a negative impact on the rest of my life then I'm all for it.

      If you really must have danger then look at it this way, you now have the opportunity to try the maximum amount of legal and illegal drugs to the fullest extent that your body can take. You'll instantly know when you've hit your limit.

    • Ignorance != Bliss (Score:5, Insightful)

      by aricusmaximus (300760) on Sunday March 22, 2009 @04:35PM (#27290809)

      It's infuriating to see the the semi-luddite rantings of the parent post got modded insightful. Makes me wonder why I even read Slashdot anymore.

      Clearly the parent poster believes that monitoring devices are for ninnies and the weak. I assume that he follows his logic to it's logical conclusion and

      - carefully disables all monitoring and warning devices on all/any vehicles he drives - after all engine check lights are for sissies!
      - removes any and all air quality detectors (smoke/carbon monoxide/radon) from his homes (not to mention any security systems)
      - if a sysadmin, avoids the use of any and all alterts, alarms, and carefully avoids the instalation of monitoring systems

      The fact is that if this was about managing a server farm or a commercial jetliner instead of a person's body there wouldn't be a doubt in anyone's mind that recieving timely accurate information about system health and integrity is a *good* thing.

      Ignorance is *not* bliss, and having more information doesn't mean that you necessarily turn into a hypochondriac. It *does* mean you have the knowledge to make responsible, informed choices -- and/or not to.

      Pre-emptive monitoring for signs of heart attacks and strokes are no joking matter and detecting these early on mean the difference between mild and serious, life-altering damage or death. But apparently ignorance will be bliss for the parent poster until the "surprise" stroke, adult-onset-diabetes, heart-attack, or too-late cancer diagnosis.

    • by fractoid (1076465)

      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 agree. I also think it's silly to say we have "absolutely no monitoring of our body's medical status" when we have our nervous system - a far more comprehensive, sensitive monitoring and fault detection system than covers most industrial plants.

      My mantra on the matter is this: "I love life too much to let my fear of losing it stop me from living it."

  • 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.
  • by SIR_Taco (467460) on Sunday March 22, 2009 @01:22PM (#27288807) Homepage

    "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."

  • by thetoadwarrior (1268702) on Sunday March 22, 2009 @01:23PM (#27288811) Homepage
    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.
    • by DigiShaman (671371) on Sunday March 22, 2009 @01:41PM (#27288951) Homepage

      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.

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

          • 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 informati
            • 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 r

      • Whose going to look at and interpret all of that mostly worthless data? Bottom line is that there is no objective measurement of anything that would allow us to predict disaster any quicker than you yourself starting to feel sick would. Measuring things continuously (as opposed to periodic measurements for screening purposes) in someone who is healthy and doesn't have symptoms is a complete waste of time, unless all you're doing is collecting data on your control group.
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by Dhalka226 (559740)

        The difference is that in most cases, the person keeping an eye on all those server and network monitors is actually trained. At the very least, they have enough technical knowledge about the subjects in hand that they can make an educated decision as to whether it's worth waking the grumpy sysadmin to come down to the office or whether the problem can wait until morning.

        This is more likely to be read by a bunch of amateurs concerned by any fluctuation in any reading, and then running to their "sysadmin"

  • I've wondered that (Score:5, Insightful)

    by jmnugent (705421) on Sunday March 22, 2009 @01:30PM (#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)
  • >>>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 replaceab

    • by yndrd1984 (730475)

      Also people are replaceable. We have 6 billion of them, with new ones constantly being produced to replace the broken ones.

      Yeah, but the replacement parts are expensive, vary in quality, and don't come in standard configurations, so you have to keep re-tuning things. Besides, there's all those political issues to consider. They keep telling people to "reduce, reuse, recycle", but I have yet to see this implemented for 'broken' vagrants and retarded children.

      After all, no one lives forever. What's th

  • by hwyhobo (1420503) on Sunday March 22, 2009 @01:39PM (#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.

    • Exactly. You really don't need to see your vital signs fluctuating to know that you're having a heart attack.
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by bretticus (898739)
        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.
        • by aswang (92825)
          (1) Troponin measurements are only helpful when repeated over a duration of time

          (2) Even EKG changes aren't instantaneous. You'll have been having chest pain for quite some time before you start showing hyperacute T waves.

          (3) But, finally, you have to target your measurements. Standard continuous cardiorespiratory monitoring is probably going to show you an increased heart rate and increased respiratory rate. Not very helpful. Continuous cardiac monitoring doesn't have the same resolution as an EKG; you're

      • by jamstar7 (694492)
        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.
      • by eh2o (471262)

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

        • by aswang (92825)
          Even then, I fail to see what you could possibly monitor continuously that would convince you that you didn't have to go to the emergency room.
    • by khallow (566160) on Sunday March 22, 2009 @02:40PM (#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.
      • If you're not going to be willing to take care of yourself, continuous monitoring ain't going to save you.
        • by khallow (566160)

          If you're not going to be willing to take care of yourself, continuous monitoring ain't going to save you.

          That's wrong. Continuous monitoring by a neutral party can find medical problems I would otherwise ignore. I can still engage in behavior that decreases my lifespan, but those who end up treating me will have a much better idea of what is wrong with me and why. My health will be better as a result.

    • by Eil (82413) on Sunday March 22, 2009 @04:17PM (#27290611) Homepage Journal

      I know I may sound heretical on a geek board, but I would consider that skill more vital to many people than calculus.

      Fun game:

      Ask your friends what the current stats are on their WoW character. Strength, agility, stamina, intelligence, etc.

      Then ask them what their resting heart rate is. (Them, not the character.)

  • by sphealey (2855) on Sunday March 22, 2009 @01:42PM (#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

  • by Ihlosi (895663) on Sunday March 22, 2009 @01:49PM (#27289029)
    ... when you pry them from my cold, dead body.
  • Welcome to 2020 ... (Score:3, Informative)

    by Ihlosi (895663) on Sunday March 22, 2009 @01:52PM (#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.
  • 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 alcohol

  • 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 sta

  • Dangerous (Score:3, Insightful)

    by thethibs (882667) on Sunday March 22, 2009 @02:01PM (#27289137) Homepage

    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?

  • I don't think so (Score:2, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward
    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.
  • 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".

  • by mbone (558574) on Sunday March 22, 2009 @02:53PM (#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.

  • "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 possibilities are enormous.

    The possibilities for government or corporate abuse are enormous. Governments would love some way of remotely deactivating people as soon as they step out of line.

  • by dpbsmith (263124) on Sunday March 22, 2009 @08:19PM (#27293009) Homepage

    "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?"

    The body monitors its own status continously and constantly takes corrective actions. The process is called homeostasis, a word invented by Walter B. Cannon in the 1930s although the concept is much older.

    You might as well say:

    "Did you ever stop to think how silly and dangerous it is to live our lives with absolutely nothing monitoring our posture to keep us from falling over?"

    "Did you ever stop to think how silly and dangerous it is to walk around with absolutely no electrodes on our chests to keep our hearts beating?"

    "Did you ever stop to think how silly and dangerous it is to walk around with absolutely no portable diathermy machine to hold our body temperature at 98.6 degrees Fahrenheit?"

    This is not to say that canes and electronic pacemakers... and, for all I know, portable diathermy machines... might not be helpful to some people, but the body has a great capacity to take care of itself without medical intervention.

Disclaimer: "These opinions are my own, though for a small fee they be yours too." -- Dave Haynie

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