3D-Printed Wearable to Monitor Gastrointestinal Activity

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The device is an electrocardiogram for the gastro-intestinal (GI) tract and it is intended to monitor electrical activity of the stomach for 24 hours

A team of researchers from the University of California at Berkeley and the University of California at San Diego developed 3D printed, wearable stomach monitor. The study aims to design an app that collects data in real-time for patients and physicians. This device has applications in monitoring GI activity for patients outside of a clinical setting, which helps in monitoring stomach activity for long periods of time. It also captures abnormal events.

The device comprises 3D printed portable box connected to 10 wearable electrodes. It fits on a person’s abdomen over the stomach and the system is paired with an app that lets patients log activities such as meals and sleep. As the part of study, team tested the device on 11 children and one adult volunteer and found that data collected on the system was comparable to invasive clinical data. Previously, the 11 patients had been undergoing an invasive procedure to monitor GI activity. Results of the study showed that the stomach’s electrical activity changes around meals and also sleep, following its own circadian rhythm.

Armen Gharibans, first author of the study: “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.” The device can improve management of patients with diabetes and Parkinson’s, as GI problems such as delayed emptying of the stomach, are common symptoms of these diseases. It can monitor the GI activity of athletes and pregnant women suffering from heartburn and other issues.

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