Thursday, 8 March 2012

Pill that shines a light on your tummy trouble

A tiny capsule that uses light to detect traces of blood inside the body could help doctors diagnose a range of digestive conditions more quickly.

The gadget, currently being trialled on 150 patients, is based on the technique used in alcohol breathalyser tests, which detects different compounds by measuring how much infrared light they absorb.

The capsule checks for 'occult' blood — small spots of blood — as it passes through the gastro-intestinal tract.

Patients are simply asked to swallow a tiny capsule and the light sensor transmits information as it passes through the body.

Bleeding in the digestive tract is a symptom rather than a disease, and a number of different conditions can be responsible. These include stomach ulcers, inflammatory bowel disease or cancer.

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