People is very willing to become creative in the name of our health. We carry FitBits that count every step we take. We sleep alongside SleepScore Max sensors that monitor breathing patterns with echo location. But would you swallow a recordable Bluetooth sensor that can stay in your stomach for weeks and collect data from the depths of your stomach?
In a study published today in Advanced Materials Technologies, a research team from MIT tells reverse they have developed a prototype that does exactly that after two years of development.
"It makes it easier for patients to be patients," explains Giovanni Traverso, one of the lead authors of the study.
Since 2016, Traverso and Yong Lin Kong, now assistant professor of chemical technology at the University of Utah, have led a team to investigate the idea of long-term recordings that can monitor core temperature, detect infections and even write out medicines, and all of that communicate with an external device, such as a smartphone or tablet.
Kong says that the idea for the ingestible came from trials for implantable medical devices. Less frequent dosing results in better adherence, so if you can only take one pill that gradually delineates medication, you can theoretically save many lives. But the implantation process, he says, can be painful and may require surgical intervention. The risk of complications – infection, rejection – has always been high. Implantations in the long term are often unsuccessful because of the inflammatory immune reactions of the body. Kong and Traverso decided to come up with a way to use the unique properties of the stomach, a large organ that has evolved to resist the presence of foreign objects.
The sensor itself is housed in a swallowable capsule, about the size of a fish oil supplement, says Traverso, a gastroenterologist at the Brigham & Young Women & # 39; s Hospital and medical engineer MIT. The capsule is taken and lodged in the stomach of the patient; the outer layer wears away and leaves the 3D-printed sensor to monitor the body from the core.
The sensor is currently powered by several miniscule batteries, although the scientists have considered a model that uses energy from the G.I. intestinal tract.
Potential applications for the sensor are reasonably diverse. Maybe it can be used to monitor soldiers who are at risk of hypothermia, says Traverso. Cancer patients with compromised immune systems can benefit from internal monitoring for infection; scientists have even built the sensor to accommodate small compartments for possible drug distribution, the dose of which can be caused by a doctor's iPad. Early detection for internal bleeding and high blood pressure are other options.
The ultimate dream is to build smart capsules that can respond, respond and serve as a platform for mobile health communication, says Traverso, although testing the sensor for humans is still several years away. In the meantime, the team has started thinking about ways to house and protect the huge amounts of health data that will be collected. The team is reportedly in conversation with various bioinformatics teams.
Of course, even in the light of all promises, sewing products can still be difficult to sell. "We promise that it is not scary to swallow a sensor that is inside and text your doctor and" is much for a patient, eh. But as Kong and Traverso indicate, there is already so much data monitoring in our daily lives. What is a little more?