Genetics 1 min read

Tiny Computer Can Be Swallowed With Pills, Gene Variant Linked to Diabetes, and Insurers Deny Claims for Sequencing

By Rhonda Reinhart featured image

Tiny computer attached to a pill will track drug’s absorption in your body: In more news of digital medicine’s rise in healthcare, which you can read more about in the next issue of Genome, a company called Proteus has developed a computer the size of a grain of sand that patients can swallow along with their medications. Right now, the most that the ingestible computer can do is track that the pill has actually been swallowed, which could be beneficial for patients with mental illnesses, who are prone to missing their dosages. In the future, however, the computer could possibly control the actual delivery of a drug.

Gene variant linked to diabetes risk in Greenlanders: Researchers in Greenland have discovered a rare gene variant linked to a high risk of type 2 diabetes. Of the 3.8 percent of Greenlanders who have two copies of the variant, more than 60 percent have diabetes by the time they are 40 to 60. After 60, that number climbs to 80 percent. According to the leaders of the study, these findings indicate that more specialized studies are needed to look for genetic links to common diseases.

As gene-sequencing tests become more prevalent, insurers deny more claims: As technology advances, more doctors and patients are turning toward gene-sequencing tests to look for genetic causes of rare diseases. These tests cost thousands of dollars, however, and insurance companies want proof that the test results will lead to treatment options before they agree to pay for them. Genetics experts, on the other hand, say the tests are valuable even if no treatment is found.

Photo by number657 on Flickr.