Self Monitoring of Physiological Well Being and Dysfunction Using Nano Implant Devices

As the scales of nanofabrication and nanotransducers approach those of the critical biomolecular feature sizes, they give the technologist the toolset to probe and control biological functions at the most fundamental "life machinery" level. By the same token, this technology could profoundly affect the ways we manage our health.

One outcome of combining nanotechnology with biotechnology will be molecular prosthetics — nano components that can repair or replace defective cellular components such as ion channels or protein signaling receptors. Another result will be intracellular imaging, perhaps enabled by synthetic nano-materials that can act as contrast agents to highlight early disease markers in routine screening. Through self-delivered nano-medical intervention, patients in the future will be able in the comfort of their homes to performed noninvasive treatments autonomously or under remote supervision by physicians.

Metabolic and anatomical monitoring will be able to give humans the capability to track the energy balance of intake and consumption. Monitoring of high-risk factors will be able to facilitate early diagnosis, when medical treatments can be most effective. Information systems designed to present medical data in ways that are intelligible to laypersons will allow anyone to monitor his or her health parameters. As a result of NBIC-enabled "wonder medicines," there will be a need to develop technology and training modalities to make the patient an essential partner in the process of health monitoring and intervention.

As the population ages, more and more age-related diseases and deteriorating functions (e.g., hearing, memory, muscle strength, and sight) will be prevalent; an obvious example is Alzheimer's disease. Some of these dysfunctions are due to molecular changes over time, and some are due to the natural decay of bodily functions. NBIC will provide ways to slow down the aging process or even reverse it.

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