Nanosensor being developed that would warn us of an impending heart attack

Eric Topol1 Nanosensor being developed that would warn us of an impending heart attack

Researchers are looking a new micro size nanosensor that would float around in our bloodstream monitoring our heart health.  This device would warn patients by sending a message directly to their smartphone.

In the United States, billions of dollars are wasted per year from misdiagnosis, prescribing the wrong medicine or having tests performed that patients simply do not need.  Medications and health care in general are extremely costly, and in some cases those costs can wipe out the savings of many people after the insurance runs out.  Now doctors are saying that healthcare costs may soon plummet in costs if we begin using our smartphones to do more of the work in regards to our healthcare. 

Dr. Eric Topol is regarded as one of the world’s most renowned and respected cardiologists.  He has accomplished a lot in regards to innovating new approaches to hearth health, but now he wants to change the way in which we see medicine and the entire health care industry for that matter.

A big proponent of using new technology in medicine, Topol is working on a new scientific device, with other researchers, which would literally warn a patient long before a heart attack was about to happen.  Smaller than a grain of sand, this nanosensor would be a permanent part of our body by floating around in our bloodstream constantly monitoring the changes happening in our blood chemistry.

The U.S. has in the neighborhood of 20 million echocardiograms performed every year that average around 800 dollars per procedure.  Now with a simple plugin device designed by General Electric called the Vscan, that cardiogram can be done for next to nothing in a regular doctor’s office.  

In his book, “The Creative Destruction of Medicine: How the Digital Revolution Will Create Better Healthcare”, Topol discusses intently just how our smartphones will change how our healthcare is monitored in the future.  Topol says that treating everyone the same in regards to checkups like ‘cattle herds’, as he puts it, is extremely wasteful.  

In a recent interview with NBC, Topol talked about the new nanosensor device he and his colleagues are working on that would warn us of a heart attack.

“Well, we are working on a project that will take a nanosensor in the bloodstream that is smaller than a grain of sand and it will pick up a signal when you have cells coming off, shed, into the bloodstream coming off the artery lining, which is a precursor to a heart attack,” Topol said in an interview with NBC  “…then you’ll get on your phone a special heart attack ring tone, which will warn you that within the week or two weeks that you are very liable to have a heart attack.  I know it sounds a little invasive putting this tiny, smaller than a grain of sand in your blood, but what that will do is have your body under continual surveillance talking to your phone – that’s the future of medicine.”

Vscan v1 2 1 product picture web(1) Nanosensor being developed that would warn us of an impending heart attack

Another device being promoted is the wearable ViSi Mobile System that allows doctors to monitor patients remotely from essentially anywhere on earth.  This small device fits on the wrist, with a few wires attached to the chest.  The ViSi Mobile allows doctors or nurses to see the vitals of any patient and make changes to what they may need. 

You can see a 17-minute video from Dr. Topol  by clicking here.  In this video he quickly goes over how the current technology trends will reshape medicine in the future with some really interesting examples. 

Jack Taylor is an accomplished writer who works as a freelance journalist and has contributed to many award winning media agencies, which includes VRzone. Born in 1971, Taylor holds a Bachelor of Science with a focus in Journalism, graduating Magna Cum Laude. An eclectic writer, Taylor specializes in editorials, trending technologies and controversial topics such as hacktivism and government spying.