Posted by: 2in10 | 02/07/2011

camera pill technology

Newton-Wellesley Hospital’s Family HealthSource landed in the mailbox today, the Winter 2011 magazine. Today is significant because it is the day, 17 years ago, that I was diagnosed with ovarian cancer Stage III. Surgery followed on February 15, 1994.

I was intrigued by the cover story about capsule endoscopy, “a technology that uses a tiny wireless camera, located in a pill-size capsule, to take pictures of the digestive track.” Can you believe it? You swallow the equivalent of a large vitamin pill (and you know how I love vitamins!), and it photographs your insides as it travels through the digestive system.

The internal camera photographs the esophagus, stomach, and small intestine. (The latter is difficult otherwise to study.) The morning of their test, people visit the hospital to swallow the tiny camera and then go about their daily activities. The camera unit, with LED light, battery and antenna, will trasmit images to a recording unit worn at the waist, according to Family HealthSource. At the end, the camera is eliminated and can be flushed down the toilet. Images are recorded for 8-10 hours.

Capsule endoscopy can be used to diagnose cancer, celiac disease, Crohn’s disease, gastrointestinal bleeding, and polyps. In one of the illustrations it appears that you can see your insides on the screen of the recording unit. That would be interesting!



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