Study: Edible sensor monitors TB patient med regime

A trial conducted at University of California at San Diego found that an ingestible sensor was highly effective in getting TB patients to take their daily treatment doses. (Pixabay)

An ingestible sensor allows doctors to remotely monitor tuberculosis patients' intake of medication, potentially saving lives, researchers said in a recent article on the site

The article quoted a study conducted at the University of California at San Diego published in the journal PLOS Medicine. The study found in a random trial of 77 patients in California that 93 percent of those using the sensor were taking their daily treatment doses, compared with 63 percent who did not use the sensor.

According to the article, around 10 million people contract tuberculosis annually, and in 2017 1.6 million people died from the chronic lung disorder. Medical personnel attribute poor adherence to treatment regimes with the continued transmission and the emergence of drug-resistant strains of the disease.

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In the study, the so-called Wirelessly Observed Therapy (WOT) involves a patient swallowing a small, pill-sized sensor and wearing a paired patch on their torso, which transmits medication levels via Bluetooth. The patient’s physician can then track in real-time their medication intake using a phone app.

"If we are serious about eliminating TB then we have to get some fundamental things right such as increased support for patient care that efficiently helps patients complete all of their treatment," Sara Browne, Professor of Clinical Medicine at the University of California San Diego and trial leader, was quoted as saying in the article.

According to the article, the vast majority of TB deaths occur in developing nations, led by India.