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The rapid growth in biomedical sensors, low-power circuits and wireless communications has enabled a new generation of wireless sensor networks: the body area networks. These networks are composed of tiny, cheap and low-power biomedical nodes, mainly dedicated for healthcare monitoring applications. The objective of these applications is to ensure a continuous monitoring of vital parameters of patients, while giving them the freedom of motion and thereby better quality of healthcare. This paper shows a comparison of body area networks to the wireless sensor networks. In particular, it shows how body area networks borrow and enhance ideas from wireless sensor networks. A study of energy consumption and heat absorption problems is developed for illustration.