Printer Friendly

Candid Camera.

Coming soon to your gut: a video camera the size of a cough drop that you swallow. No, it's not for candid home videos. The new "camera-in-a-pill" will help doctors diagnose potential health problems in the digestive system, a network of organs that digests food.

Right now doctors detect stomach disorders such as ulcers (sores in the stomach lining) using an endoscope, a flexible fiberglass cable that carries light rays to the gut. The light forms an image and sends it back to a handheld viewer.

Not only is the procedure uncomfortable--the cable is snaked down the throat into the stomach--but it doesn't reach the small intestine, a 6.5 meter (21 foot)-coiled tube that lets the bloodstream absorb nutrients. "The camera-in-a-pill can go places we have trouble getting to," says Dr. James Frakes, a gastroenterologist (stomach doctor) in Rockford, Ill.

The patient swallows the mini-camera like a normal pill. As the camera travels down the digestive tract, it snaps several images per second and transmits data to antennas and a Walkman-like receiver worn on a patient's belt. A computer processes the data and keeps tabs on the camera's location. It also produces still or video images a doctor can use to diagnose problems or illnesses.

So far the device has been an easy pill to swallow. "Once it goes down, you don't feel it at all," says Frakes. The camera pill takes about 24 hours to wind its way through the body. Given Imaging of Yokneam, Israel--the company that makes the device--has successfully tested it on animals and 10 human volunteers, but more trials are needed before its approval by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.

Scientists hope a future version of the camera pill will repair gut problems as well as spot them!
COPYRIGHT 2000 Scholastic, Inc.
No portion of this article can be reproduced without the express written permission from the copyright holder.
Copyright 2000, Gale Group. All rights reserved. Gale Group is a Thomson Corporation Company.

Article Details
Printer friendly Cite/link Email Feedback
Title Annotation:cough-drop size video camera for diagnostic uses
Author:Dyer, Nicole
Publication:Science World
Geographic Code:7ISRA
Date:Oct 2, 2000
Previous Article:Science in the News Quiz.
Next Article:ShortTakes.

Related Articles
Automatic pellet quality inspection by video camera.
Staying fresh: what's cooking in the format biz? (Pre-Packaged Deals).
Surveillance in the city: insider's view.
It's a snap! Selecting the right digital camera.
Flying anytime soon? With new restrictions in place, here's what to expect on your next trip to the airport.

Terms of use | Privacy policy | Copyright © 2021 Farlex, Inc. | Feedback | For webmasters