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The vitamin pill-sized sensor detects gases in the gut, sending live data to a mobile phone. (Credit: RMIT)

New trials of a breakthrough swallowable sensor have revealed the device is 3,000 times more accurate than current technology used to diagnose many gut disorders. The findings show the revolutionary gas-sensing capsule could surpass breath testing as the benchmark for diagnosing gut disorders, paving the way to solving previously undiagnosed conditions.

The vitamin pill-sized capsule provides real time detection and measurement of hydrogen, carbon dioxides, and oxygen in the gut. The data can be sent to a mobile phone.

Intestinal gases are currently used to diagnose disorders including small intestinal bacterial overgrowth (SIBO) and carbohydrate malabsorption. Of the one-in-five people worldwide who will suffer from a gastrointestinal disorder in their lifetime, almost a third remain undiagnosed due to a lack of reliable tests available to gastroenterologists.

Study lead and capsule co-inventor Professor Kourosh Kalantar-zadeh says the results showed high sensitivity and signal-to-noise ratio in measuring the concentration of intestinal hydrogen, providing valuable information at the site of intestinal gas production. Findings from the first human trials revealed the stomach releases oxidizing chemicals to break down and beat foreign compounds that are staying in the stomach for longer than usual. Such an immune mechanism has never been reported before.

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