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Electronic “Smart Pill” Used to Measure Acidity in Ulcerative Colitis

A recently developed electronic diagnostic tool called the SmartPill has been used to measure the pH in the digestive tracts of patients with the chronic inflammatory disease ulcerative colitis (UC). Using the SmartPill, researchers at NewYork-Presbyterian/Weill Cornell Medical Center have shown that patients with mild to moderate UC have significantly more acidic pH in their colons, compared with the average person--a finding that may impact treatment strategy. "By using the SmartPill to measure the pH throughout the digestive tract, we were able to see how the pH levels can vary in patients with ulcerative colitis. This may help us understand why some drug treatments are more effective than others," said Dr. Brian Bosworth, the lead investigator on the study. Administered in the physician's office, the SmartPill allows the patient to go about his or her normal routine during the course of the test. As the wireless SmartPill capsule passes through the gastrointestinal tract, it transmits data--including pressure, pH, and temperature--to a SmartPill data receiver worn by the patient. Once the single-use capsule has passed from the body, the patient returns the data receiver to the physician who can then download the collected data to a computer, where it can be analyzed. This particular study was presented on June 3 at the Digestive Disease Week meeting in Chicago. [Press release] [SmartPill information] [Ulcerative colitis information]