Australian researchers have developed a vitamin-sized electronic capsule that can detect the concentrations of gasses in the small and large intestine, relaying information about interactions between gut bacteria and dietary foods. Once swallowed, the battery-powered device wirelessly transmits oxygen, hydrogen, and carbon dioxide readings every 5 minutes to a pocket-sized receiver that sends the data to a mobile phone for display.
The results of a pilot trial involving 6 healthy volunteers were recently published in Nature Electronics. Patterns of hydrogen and carbon dioxide, which are largely produced by food fermentation in the gut, corresponded with volunteers’ prescribed fiber consumption. Oxygen concentrations indicated when the capsule left the stomach and moved from the small intestine to the colon, which was confirmed with ultrasound.
Abbasi J. Ingestible Electronic Capsule Measures Gases in the Gut. JAMA. 2018;319(10):972. doi:10.1001/jama.2018.1629
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