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MIT researchers are developing an intelligent pill to survive the hostile conditions of GI

Engineers from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology have developed a hydrogel-based pillow that acts as a shock swamp – quickly swallowed by the size of a tablet in the size of a soft, unblemished ping-pong ball when it reaches its stomach.

According to engineers, this invention can benefit from stakeholders in industries, such as physiological monitoring and diagnostics, pharmaceutical companies and food companies, from a commercial point of view, although they are still undergoing further studies.

"Existing heating devices are usually made of hard plastic or metals that are less common in the gastrointestinal tract, and most existing GI sensors remain in the GI tract less than a few days"Xuanhe Zhao, PhD, associate professor of mechanical engineering at MIT and co-author of the study, for NutraIngredients-USA.

In addition, endoscopy is not required to deliver monitoring devices when using a tablet similar to jelly. "Our smart pill can be orally administered as a joint pill" He explained. "It quickly swells in the stomach in a soft hydrogel ball with similar rigidity as food and can stay in the stomach and measure the physiological conditions of the core-body for up to a month."

Dr. Zhao leads the same name Zhao Lab at MIT, which, according to his website, Is an interdisciplinary research group with a mission "To advance the science and technology of interfaces between people and machines to address major societal challenges in health, water, security and the joy of living."

The first published document on this device was announced yesterdayIn the magazine Natural communications. In it, the authors demonstrated how a jelly-like tablet can be used for long-term physiological monitoring in the body and a diagnosis using in vivo tests in pigs that have abdominal and gastrointestinal tissues very similar to humans.

Implications for the food area

Although the first published document on the hydrogeological pill focused on diagnosis, Dr. Zhao said there are potential food applications, especially in the increased personalized food space.

"Dietary habits, food and drink intake can be associated with variations in gastric pH, temperature, pressure, and many other biomarkers"He said.

"The smart hydrogel pill can wirelessly measure the temperature of the stomach in the long run, such as a month. With this data, people can analyze and evaluate their diet, and even adjust their healthy nutrition plans ".

Additionally, there is the potential to develop a suppressant appetite pill. "Hydrochemical balls can fill the stomach and make people feel full and eat less. This can be a simple but very influential application of our technology" He said.

And with any discussion of the gastrointestinal tract, it is impossible to overlook the potential application in the microbiomic space.

"Hydrogel can help bring probiotics into the small intestine by protecting it from the acidic gastric environment. We are actively studying many of these applications"Dr Zhao said.

Source: Natural communications
Posted on the Internet, https://doi.org/10.1038/s41467-019-08355-2
"Ingestion hydrogel device"
Authors: Xiunyue Liu, et al.

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