HEALTH & FITNESS
Ingestible capsule to accurately diagnose gut disorders
Scientists have developed a swallowable sensor which is 3,000 times more accurate than current technology used to diagnose many gut disorders.
The "revolutionary" gas-sensing capsule developed by researchers at RMIT University in Australia, could surpass breath testing as the benchmark for diagnosing gut disorders.
This could pave the way to solving previously undiagnosed conditions, according to the study published in the journal Alimentary Pharmacology and Therapeutics.
The vitamin pill-sized capsule provides real time detection and measurement of hydrogen, carbon dioxides and oxygen in the gut. This data can be sent to a mobile phone.
A human trial revealed information about gas production in the gut previously masked when measured indirectly through the breath, said RMIT's Kyle Berean, the co-inventor of the capsule.
"The rate of false positive and false negative diagnosis that breath tests give is a real problem in gastroenterology," Berean said.
"Being able to measure these biomarkers at concentrations over 3,000 times greater than breath tests is quite astonishing," said Berean.
This test is non-invasive and allows the patient to continue with their daily life as normal, the researchers said.
Intestinal gases are currently used to diagnose disorders including small intestinal bacterial overgrowth (SIBO) and carbohydrate malabsorption.
Of the one-in-five people worldwide who will suffer from a gastrointestinal disorder in their lifetime, almost a third remain undiagnosed due to a lack of reliable tests available to gastroenterologists, researchers said.
The results showed high sensitivity and signal-to-noise ratio in measuring the concentration of intestinal hydrogen, providing valuable information at the site of intestinal gas production, said Professor Kourosh Kalantar-zadeh, co-inventor of the capsule.
"This gives us confidence that our new technology could potentially solve many mysteries of the gut and help the large portion of the population who have not been able to find a useful diagnosis or treatment for their symptoms," Kalantar-zadeh said.
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