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A team of engineers and physicians has created a wearable device, non-invasive system to monitor electrical activity in the stomach over 24 hours: essentially an electrocardiogram but for the gastro-intestinal (GI) tract. Wearable device involves monitoring GI activity for patients outside of a clinical setting, which decrease costs. Monitoring for longer periods of time also grows the likelihood of capturing uncommon cases. “We think our system will spark a new kind of medicine, where a gastroenterologist can quickly see where and when a part of the GI tract is showing abnormal rhythms and as a result make more accurate, faster and personalized diagnoses,” said Armen Gharibans, the paper’s first author and a bioengineering postdoctoral researcher at the University of California San Diego. Todd Coleman, the paper’s corresponding author and a UC San Diego professor of bioengineering, agrees. He said that this work opened the door accurately monitoring the dynamic activity of the GI system. Until now, it had been quite challenging to accurately measure the electrical patters of stomach activity in a continuous manner, outside of a clinical setting. “From now on, we will be able to observe patterns and analyze them in both healthy and unwell people as they go about their daily lives.” He added. The breakthrough was made possible because engineers and physicians came together to work on the problem, said Benjamin Smarr, one of the paper’s co-authors and a chronobiologist at UC Berkeley. The researchers tested the device on 11 pediatric patients at Rady Children’s Hospital in San Diego. How is it work? The process requires using a catheter inserted through the nose to measure pressure at several points inside the stomach. The data which was collected by wearable device was healthy, powerful, strong and credible.
“I have been practicing pediatric gastroenterology and taking care of patients for 20 years,” Dr. Mousa said. “The only method to assess gastrointestinal motility involves placing motility catheters in the GI tracts while kids are sedated or under general anesthesia. It has been a long journey discussing the benefits of doing such an invasive procedure with my patients and their families. My challenge has always been finding a test that offers a non-invasive assessment of the enteric nervous system and its connection with brain function.”
In accordance with Dr. Mousa it supplies the information without using sedation, and children can show their flexibility and go on their daily activities. “This procedure allows convenience without compromising accuracy. In addition, it offers the option to assess the brain-gut response to therapeutic interventions including biofeedback and neuromodulation.” The system is connected to a smartphone which let patients log their meals, sleep and different kind of activities.
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