Saturday, January 21, 2006

Bug watch

A watch that detects malaria parasites. Do you think it's for real?
An inventor says he has developed a device with the form of a wristwatch that can detect a malaria infection before symptoms of the illness arise.

According to Gervan Lubbe, from South Africa, his device pricks the wearer’s skin every 6 hours and uses an electronic component to check for a "signature vibration" of the malaria parasite. He says that several medical journals plan to publish his papers on this new detection method, but declined to mention any names.

...

When the device detects the frequency of movement that Lubbe claims is unique to the malaria parasite, it flashes an alarm, prompting wearers to take antimalarial medication.

"Signature vibration"? That's a yellow flag to me. As with the malaria expert quoted in the article I'm sitting on the fence till there's more info on this. As for the device's ability to sniff out parasites, hope we'll soon get wind of the results of the controlled tests. (Have there been any?)

Lubbe claims to have a total order of 1.5 million units. At USD 280/pc. that comes to almost half a billion dollars. I wonder if Lubbe isn't stretching his figure just a bit.

2 comments:

Skeptyk said...

Signature vibration? Sounds so Ruth Drown/Hulda Clark to me. But this is South Africa where the criminally quacky Matthias Rath has the ear and purse of the government leadership, having convinced the president that garlic and lemon and a few of his herb pills will cure AIDS: http://www.guardian.co.uk/aids/story/0,7369,1483821,00.html

When altmed creeps prey on the worried well with harmless nostrums, it is bad enough; when they do this - the AIDS denialists, the cancer quacks, the psychic surgeons - they are morally culpable in suffering and death.

Bronze Dog said...

"Signature vibration" is a yellow flag with you? I'd hate to see a red one. Well, maybe not. A red might be amusing as that Time Cube guy.