Electronic capsule travels through the intestine and measures digestive gases

A small measuring device crosses the intestine and sends data outside

Researchers in Melbourne have developed a capsule that travels through the intestinal tract after swallowing, measuring the concentration of hydrogen, oxygen and carbon dioxide. During this odyssey, the small measuring device sends data to the outside world. The electronic capsule has been successfully tested on humans and has delivered amazing results. The researchers' attempts have uncovered mechanisms in the human body that have never been seen before, including a potentially new immune system.

One of the new findings that clinical testing of the capsule provided on five test subjects is that the stomach apparently produces oxygen. The scientists saw this process as a natural protective function of the stomach, since the oxygen can attack foreign bodies through oxidation. The 2.6 centimeter long capsule was developed by the Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology. The research results were recently published in the journal "Nature Electronics". The research head Kalantar-Zadeh sees the capsule as a new method to determine the activity of the intestinal bacteria.

Further discoveries of the small probe

"We found that the stomach released oxidizing chemicals to break down and combat foreign matter that stayed in the stomach for longer," Kalantar-zadeh said in a press release from the Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology. The researchers were also able to discover oxygen in the large intestine if the test person previously had a diet low in fiber. However, this disappeared as soon as the bacteria started to ferment fiber. As a result, the hydrogen and carbon dioxide concentration rose significantly. The researchers observed that the intestinal bacteria adapt relatively quickly to a changed diet. A change in the food supplied also led to a significant change in gas production. In a phase 2 study, the diagnostic possibilities are now to be researched further.

The development of capsule endoscopy

Capsule endoscopy has become increasingly important in recent years and has established itself as an important diagnostic tool. In addition to video capsules, there are now also capsules that measure pH, temperature or pressure. Capsule endoscopy is the only non-invasive way to view the entire small intestine from the inside. The introduction of capsule endoscopy in Germany in 2001 made it possible to make an accurate, improved diagnosis of many small bowel diseases. The new capsule from Melbourne could expand this type of diagnostics in the future. "The new information could help us better understand how diseases such as colon cancer occur," said Kalantar-Zadeh.

One in five could benefit

Every fifth person worldwide develops a gastrointestinal disorder in his life. The new technology and the discoveries it offers have the potential to bring about a groundbreaking change in diagnostics in this area. They could also lead to less invasive procedures like colonoscopy. "We got along with Planet innovation teamed up to a company called Atmo Biosciences to found and launch the product, ā€¯reports Kalantar-Zadeh. (fp)

Author and source information

Video: Constipation Update - Melissa Munsell, MD. UCLA Health (January 2022).