Intel Health Research team brings silicon-based technology benefits to health care

San Jose 21 February 2003Through social science research and development of technology prototypes, Intel's Proactive Health Research team is exploring the benefits that silicon-based technologies could bring to the health and wellness needs of people in their homes and everyday lives. A key focus area is using a sensor network embedded throughout the home to help elders, especially the growing worldwide demographic of people 60 years and older, to receive better care in their homes.

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Intel is working with households dealing with Alzheimer's disease today to understand if the sensors, combined with powerful computing and complex algorithms, can effectively send reminders or prompts through a variety of devices throughout the home to assist the elderly and to mitigate some of the workload of in-house caregivers.

The proactive health research project is a collaborative effort with university researchers, industry labs, and government agencies to understand how technology can support behaviours that help prevent disease, foster independence, and improve livability.

"Intel is actively expanding our research and expertise to focus on the life sciences and health care industry", Pat Gelsinger, Intel senior vice president and chief technology officer, stated. "By bringing the benefits of low-cost, silicon-based technologies to health care, we can potentially improve the quality of life for the world's aging population and help to enable the early detection of disease."

Separately, Intel's Precision Biology Research team is exploring ways to apply Intel technologies to the analysis of biological molecules such as DNA and proteins, with the goal of inventing new types of diagnostic instrumentation that can lead to improvements in human health.

As part of Intel's silicon manufacturing capabilities, the company has developed an extensive set of molecular analysis capabilities that permit it to detect trace contaminants that enter the semiconductor fabrication process. Intel also has developed a world-class capability to view, create, and modify nano-scale physical structures and devices.

Precision Biology is an advanced research effort that seeks to apply these technological capabilities in new ways to create highly sensitive and accurate biosensors that can aid in the detection, diagnosis, and treatment of disease.

For example, by sculpting silicon nano-structures in a way that will cause molecules to march single-file past sensors that classify them, Intel researchers hope to someday detect unique molecular-scale signatures associated with diseases such as cancer. These types of future capabilities would dramatically lower the cost and increase the reach of life-saving diagnostic tools throughout the world.


Leslie Versweyveld

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