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An aging population, coupled with choices on diet and lifestyle, is causing an increased demand for portable, wearable, and implantable medical devices that enable chronic disease management and wellness assessment. Battery life specifications drive the power consumption requirements of integrated circuits in these devices. Microcontrollers provide the right combination of programmability, cost, performance, and power consumption needed to realize such devices. In this paper, we describe microcontrollers that are enabling today's medical applications and discuss innovations necessary for enabling future applications with sophisticated signal processing needs. As an example, we present the design of an embedded microcontroller system-on-chip that achieves the first sub-microwatt per channel electroencephalograph (EEG) seizure detection.