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Camera pill to spot stomach problems

The new camera pill would help doctors to look inside the small intestine and spot problems.

india Updated: Apr 29, 2006 17:13 IST

West Virginia University (WVU) Hospitals in the US has implemented "camera pill technology" that allows doctors to look inside the small intestine and diagnose problems.

Under this technology, the patient swallows a small camera that is encapsulated in a pill the size of a large vitamin. This camera then takes about 50,000 pictures as it travels through the small intestine, reported the online edition of The Daily Athenaeum.

The patient wears a belt that carries a battery pack and a receiver that records the pictures.

"The patient comes in, swallows the thing and then comes back eight hours later, and we look at the record," Uma Sundaram, chief of digestive diseases at WVU, said.

This technology allows for a more non-invasive way for doctors to look inside the small intestine and diagnose disorders that are difficult to detect using endoscope procedures, it said.

This procedure gives doctors high-definition pictures that can indicate bleeding, ulcers and other diseases that may not be otherwise seen through the endoscope.

Endoscope procedures are limited to an eight-foot portion of the small intestine. However, the camera can travel completely through the entire 21 feet of the intestines and take pictures.

This technology is still advancing, and Sundaram says he hopes to see a pill that can take biopsies and treat conditions as it passes through the intestine. Also, a pill that can detect problems in the colon and stomach is being researched.

Another report said the camera melts inside and the residues pass out with stool.