MIT researchers invent electronic pillbox for tuberculosis patients

CAMBRIDGE, Mass. Researchers at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology has created an electronic pillbox that informs tuberculosis patients to take their antibiotics regularly and could potentially tell which patients do not take their medications, according to published reports.

A memory chip records when the pillbox lid is opened, while a timed buzzer and flashing LEDs remind patients to take their pills. At the end of an antibiotics course, the researchers download the data from the boxes to identify patients who did not comply.

Failure to complete a course of antibiotics leads to multi-drug resistant TB strains, so the World Health Organization supports that health workers watch patients take each dose. With 9 million new cases each year, workers need to spot the patients prone to such lapses so that efforts are focused where most needed.

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