Batman and James Bond, move over! Real-life guys have access to
some pretty incredible gadgets and gizmos of their own, with medical devices
being among the hottest of these "smart" products to hit the
Recent inventions run the gamut from whimsical and wacky to
wise and wondrous. There are exercise and fitness trackers to monitor your
daily steps and calculate calories burned. Some download the information onto
special web sites that tabulate and calculate and offer advice. There are heart
rate monitors, and blood pressure monitors, and fitness planners that show you
the path to better health and nutrition. There are watch-size water monitors
that keep track of how much water you drink and micro massagers that alleviate
eyestrain with magnets and acupressure.
My father lived with me and my family during the last two years of his life
while he sank ever deeper into Alzheimer’s disease.
His behavior was frequently bizarre. He might emerge from his bedroom with
three of my son’s baseball caps piled on top of his head but wearing no pants.
When trying to participate in a conversation, he might blurt out passionate
pronouncements that made no sense at all. “Ya see, the individualism is
something that’s not already formed,” he would bellow. “You gotta...
People with diabetes can even wear a GlucoWatch, a wrist-worn
device that helps them keep tabs on blood sugar levels, supplementing but not
replacing -- yet -- the accursed fingerstick method of monitoring glucose.
Among the more helpful products are devices that remind
patients to take their medication. This is especially important for patients
with complicated regimens (like multidrug therapy for AIDS) and for those with
memory problems. Some are simple, sounding a tone when it is time to take a
Others, like one being developed at Baltimore's Johns Hopkins
University, are more complex. The Disease Management Assistance System (DMAS),
as it is called, has voice recordings that instruct a patient on what drug to
take, what side effects to expect, and what to do about them should they
If the patient doesn't press a button signaling he has taken
the drug when scheduled, the device continues to beep periodically. Even
better, a physician can download this information to find out how well a
patient is complying.
And no more need for Mom to nag you about brushing your teeth
-- a new high-tech toothbrush will beep you when it's time to clean the pearly
whites, and will make sure you do it the proper length of time.
"Studies show that people dramatically overestimate the
amount of brushing time," orthodontist Douglas Ramsay, DMD tells WebMD. Two
minutes is optimum, he says.