And as if our society weren’t besotted enough, just think:
A new voyage into “chemical space”…has concluded that scientists have synthesized barely one tenth of 1 percent of the potential medicines that could be made. The report, in the journal ACS Chemical Neuroscience, estimates that the actual number of these so-called “small molecules” could be 1 novemdecillion (that’s 1 with 60 zeroes), 1 million billion billion billion billion billion billion, which is more than some estimates of the number of stars in the universe.
And soon, they could even be all techno-fied, too!
Digestible sensors that can report medication adherence and vital signs have been approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA). Proteus Digital Health, Inc. announced that the FDA has approved their product, the Ingestion Event Marker (IEM). The ingestible sensor, which was already been approved for use in Europe in 2011, can transmit information about the patient to medical professionals and help them customize care.
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The sensor, which is the size of a grain of sand, can be put inside a pill or other consumables and is powered by stomach fluid. Once swallowed, the device transmits a signal to a patch on the user’s stomach that can determine when the item was consumed, as well as other physiological and behavioral metrics including heart rate, body position and activity. Then the information can be sent to a mobile phone app to the patient, and, with the patient’s permission, their medical caregivers.
And yet, even drug company execs have admitted that most drugs don’t work for most people. Just last month, there was plenty of chatter about the exciting new Alzheimer’s drug that bombed in clinical trials. The month before, we got to hear how some anemia drugs that did make it to market turned out to be less than effective and sometimes lethal. (Update: Just today (9/13), Dr. Mercola pointed out another “epic fail”.)
Yet according to Big Pharma logic, this only means that “more research” is needed. (Surely one of those million billion billion billion billion billion billion hypothetical drugs will work safely, right?)
We say, a more advanced understanding of health and medicine is needed. As Simon Yu, MD, insists, “When the latest medical therapy fails, THINK DIFFERENTLY!”
Of related interest: “Trials and Errors: Why Science Is Failing Us” (Wired, December 2011)