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Techniques & Tools Clinical, Sensors

Gut Reaction

Gases in the gut – the result of both microbial and chemical activities – are closely related to an individual’s state of health. Indeed, specific gas profiles are associated with several disorders, including irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), malabsorption of carbohydrates, and small intestinal bacterial overgrowth (SIBO). Current diagnosis of these conditions can be at best limited, and at worst unreliable – as well as being invasive for the patient.

A collaborative team from RMIT University and Alfred Hospital in Melbourne, Australia believe that the key to better diagnostics lies within the gut itself – and have devised an ingestible pill that can measure gases while moving through the body.

“Ingestible sensors provide easier and less invasive access inside the body,” says lead author Kourosh Kalantar-Zadeh (1). “The chemicals of the gut (gases, electrolytes, metabolites, and hormones) are rapidly exchanged through the mucosa (walls) of the gut, which makes measuring chemicals in the gut as valuable as in the blood… And we all know how important the blood test is.”

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About the Author

Joanna Cummings

A former library manager and storyteller, I have wanted to write for magazines since I was six years old, when I used to make my own out of foolscap paper and sellotape and distribute them to my family. Since getting my MSc in Publishing, I’ve worked as a freelance writer and content creator for both digital and print, writing on subjects such as fashion, food, tourism, photography – and the history of Roman toilets. Now I can be found working on The Analytical Scientist, finding the ‘human angle’ to cutting-edge science stories.

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