Researchers Develop Ingestible Pill-Camera to Diagnose Ailments

January 16, 2013, By Sanjeev Ramachandran

Doctors, sometimes, in order to diagnose certain ailments resort to means like endoscopy and colonoscopy. And most of the time, the patient is sedated before inserting the tube with a camera attached at the end.

But even if the patient is not conscious, the process is certainly no walk in the park. To make things easier for both the doctor and the patient, researchers at Massachusetts General Hospital have come up with an ingestible pill-sized camera.

The patient need not be put under for using this device, and it’s relatively easier than inserting a tube. The pill doesn’t cause pain, although, being tethered, it is bound to be a little unpleasant having a little wire down the throat.

Researchers Develop Ingestible Pill Camera to Diagnose Ailments

According the MGH pathologist Gary Tearney, a lot of patients did experience reflux, although heartburn was non-existent, for which, he said, didn’t need an examination. But there is a high risk of developing cancer.

Swallowing the pill-camera, there is no reason why an examination has to be avoided. The pill is swallowed usually by downing a glass of water, and the doctor can get a close look by driving the camera with the wire.

Optical frequency domain imaging is used by the camera to capture. Doctors split a beam of light using mirrors, and focuses one beam on tissues while the other beam is reflected onto a detector for reference.

The beam focused on the tissue is then axially spun around at a rate of 20 rotations per second, whereby the reflective light can be measured. The observed measurements are then compared to the reference light and thus a cross section can be created, combining which a 3D representation of the area under observation is constructed.

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