5 things to know about a wearable GI monitoring system

Researchers at UC San Diego developed a non-invasive, wearable system to monitor the stomach's electrical activity over 24 hours.

Here are five things to know.

1. The system is designed to monitor GI activity for patients outside of a clinical setting, which can reduce costs. Monitoring over greater periods of time also increases the likelihood of catching abnormalities.

2. The device uses off-the-shelf electrodes used in electrocardiograms; the electronics and battery are encased in a 3-D printed box and connected to the electrodes, which fit on a person's abdomen over the stomach.

3. The GI Innovation Group researchers worked with pediatric gastroenterologist Hayat Mousa, MD, to test the device on 11 pediatric patients at Rady Children's Hospital in San Diego. These patients were undergoing manometry, which requires using a nasally-inserted catheter to measure pressure at several points inside the stomach. Comparing the two methods demonstrated that the data recorded from the electrodes was reliable.

4. The researchers also found that the stomach's electrical activity changed not only during meals but also during sleep.

5. The system is currently paired with a smart phone app allowing patients to log their meals, sleep and other activities. The researchers' end goal is to design an app that would allow patients and physicians to see the data collected by the device in real time.

Here is more information on the GI Innovation Group. Here are the published results in Nature.

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