There were three dreaded words we all hated as children: a doctor’s visit. Just the thought of the needle puncturing your skin invokes images of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde flashing before your very eyes. As adults, the usual needle-and-syringe business can still send even the bravest into a fit of anxiety and panic. But this new technology can put those worries to rest…
Instead of the standard blood draw, this blood test, currently trialed in Spain, does all of its work through a microchip. Same function but without the pain and headache. So how exactly does this emerging alternative work?
Glad you asked. The ANESA system attaches microchips to five strategic parts of the body. From here, the doctors check blood parameters like enzyme and hormone levels. Dr. Antoni Sicras Mainar, a key player in the pilot study, administers the tests at Badalona Municipal Hospital (near Barcelona).
Dr. Mainar explains the magic behind it all: “This microchip detects temperature through the body’s thermo-regulation mechanisms. These microchips must be placed on the carotid arteries, in the armpits, and one in the umbilical area. It detects temperature, and through mathematical algorithms we can test biochemical parameters.”
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Not only is the test just as efficient as the old-fashioned, needle-pricking tests, it’s also pretty speedy – rendering results within six minutes flat. ANESA isn’t equipped to diagnose antibodies in blood, though. So you’ll have to stick with the traditional needle stabs, for now, if testing things like Hepatitis, AIDS or Syphilis. But nonetheless, Spain has reached a milestone. And doctors, as well as patients, are excited about the new microchip test’s abilities.
A study patient, Xavier Jiminez, was happily shocked by the ANESA test. He explains that “the normal way of drawing blood, with a needle, makes you very anxious. It’s not a nice test. But this new kind of test surprised me because you don’t feel any pain.”
Though this alternative has flew under the radar for so long, some private European hospitals and Chinese facilities have dabbled with ANESA, as well. But this trial carries a lot of weight because positive results could lead to a revamped Spanish healthcare system, as a whole.