You see, I know from detailed research and analysis that more than 100,000 people in the U.S. die each year from bad reactions to drugs.
That's more than three times as many as those who die from all street drugs, including heroin.
Fortunately, a better way is just on the horizon.
Indeed, new "microchip medicine" technology by itself could save as many as 1 million American lives roughly every decade.
It's proof that you should never throw a good idea away. The two researchers behind this new breakthrough device first thought of it more than 15 years ago.
Now, their tiny product appears headed to produce some big results.
Microchip Medicine BreakthroughsTo reach this breakthrough, the two Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) researchers teamed up with their colleagues at a small biotech firm called MicroCHIPS. The firm is privately held.
But if it ever goes public, you'll want to keep an eye on MicroCHIPS as a potentially winning investment - one that also will benefit millions.
Here's why: A new study showed that doctors can safely implant a small semiconductor into a patient's body.
In turn, doctors can program the microchip to deliver the correct doses of medicine at precisely the right times.
The chips operate wirelessly and can be programmed as needed to change doses. How cool is this?
This particular study involved providing drugs to women who suffer from osteoporosis. But I believe it could be used with dozens of diseases treated with prescription drugs.
But don't take my word for it. Here is what MIT professor Robert Langer had to say.
His partner, Michael Cima, also addressed one of my main concerns, which is patient safety. Of course, he didn't directly discuss saving lives.
But he seems to understand instinctively how difficult it is for patients on multiple drugs to keep taking them in the correct sequence.
The microchip technology avoids the "compliance issue completely," Cima says, adding that it "points to a future where you have fully automated drug regimens."
Bingo. That's what I'm talking about.
In the very near future, your doctor will no longer bother with injections or pills. Instead, he will implant a microchip in your body.
That chip - or something similar - will deliver the right drugs at the right time.
To keep you safe, your doctor will get alerts from your body delivered wirelessly from your chip directly to his computer network.
Some obstacles remain, however.
Right now, the chips can only deliver 20 doses. But MicroCHIPS is working on a system that will increase that number to 100.
In fact, I predict that in the next few years, patients will receive several different prescribed drugs from a single chip.
After all, we live in an Era of Radical Change in which devices get ever more powerful as they get smaller.
Microchip Medicine Means Longer LifespansThe combination of new computers, software and biotech will combine to help us live well beyond 100 with much better physical and mental health.
More breakthroughs are on the way...
Take the "crab" that can eat the cancer inside your body.
Actually, it's a crab-like robot brought to you by researchers at National University of Singapore.
They designed these medical bots to enter a patient's stomach through an endoscope. It's a small camera guided by a wire.
A surgeon then guides the "medbot" to the cancer. Once on target, the bot uses a pincer to cut out the cancer, which the robotic arm then removes.
This could have a major medical impact across the board. That includes those stricken with stomach cancer.
Stomach cancer remains a leading killer worldwide and is common in East Asia. Researchers said the robot recently helped remove early-stage stomach cancers in five patients in India and Hong Kong.
The Singapore team also reported three other benefits - no scars, less time in surgery and reduced risks of infection.
Bad Vision?... There's an App for ThatFinally, your smart phone may soon be able to give you an eye exam. This new $2 app comes to you from MIT Professor Ramesh Raskar.
He notes that some 2 billion people in the world need glasses. But millions in developing nations can't get their eyes checked.
His Netra system uses an eyepiece that clips to the smart phone. It then measures your vision.
Raskar's team says Netra uses cheap optics and interactive software to replace costly laser-based gear.
He talked about Netra's potential in a YouTube video. He says the team is working with eye clinics and eye-glass firms to get the new tech out in the field.
So, you can see that at the very least, some of this new technology will improve human health. Others will help us live much longer.
Still others will no doubt save millions of lives someday.
And remember, as investors we will benefit as well, since some new medical devices are bound to result in some very profitable stock plays.
In the future issues I'll discuss them.
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