Geeks With Blogs

The Life and Times of a Dev Yes, we're really that weird

My wife's thyroid just up and quit one day.  At present, the way they know that is you get your blood drawn, and they run a Thyroid Stimulating Hormone (TSH) test to see what level it's at.  .5 - 4.5 is good, anything below .5 means you're producing too much thyroxine, and anything about means you're not producing enough.  Your pituitary gland is what generates the TSH in the body, and your thyroid controls your metabolism--if it doesn't work, EVERYTHING slows down and eventually stops.

Currently, she takes doses of thyroxine anywhere from 50 mcg (it amazes me that so little of this stuff has such a dramatic effect) to 110 mcg.  They put her on the dose, wait six weeks as she roller coaster's through the dose adjustment, and then they test again and adjust as necessary.

Why can't we have a system that monitors the level of TSH, like the human body does, and then doses as she needs it?  One of the problems with what happens now is if she has an active day, she still only gets the same amount of thyroxine, so the next day, she's tired and can't do much.

I just read two articles that when combined could give us just what I'd like to see.  With this article you could create a nano sensor that monitors the level of TSH in real time.  Then with the technology in this article the dosage could be changed in real time without the patient ever needing to do anything but apply a simple patch.

Think about it for diabetics too--eat what you want, the sensor/patch combo will adjust accordingly, just make sure you refill your insulin reservoir.  Shoot, you could have a three chamber "ink" reservoir--one for thyroxine, one for insulin, and one for something else!

Posted on Tuesday, September 11, 2007 10:43 AM | Back to top

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