Digital Sensors for Digestive Tract monitoring
Categories Medical news

Rhythmic Contractions of the Digestive Tract Can Now Be Measured with Flexible Sensors

Researchers at MIT and Brigham and Women’s Hospital have built a flexible sensor that adheres to the lining of the stomach or intestine and measures the rhythmic contractions of the digestive tract.

Such sensors can help doctors to diagnose digestive disorders that impair the motility of the digestive tract. Further, they can be used to measure the food intake in patients treated for obesity.

These flexible sensors are based on piezoelectric materials, which generate a current and voltage on mechanical deformation. Polymers with elasticity similar to that of human skin are also incorporated in the sensors so that they can conform to the skin and stretch when the skin stretches.

“Having flexibility makes it easier for a sensor to transit the human digestive tract and imparts significantly improved safety over rigid ingestible sensors,” says Giovanni Traverso, a research affiliate at MIT’s Koch Institute for Integrative Cancer Research, a gastroenterologist and biomedical engineer at Brigham and Women’s Hospital.

Traverso teamed with Canan Dagdeviren, an assistant professor in MIT’s Media Lab and the director of the Conformable Decoders research group to develop this flexible sensor that can be can be rolled up and placed in a capsule. The capsule gets dissolved after being swallowed.

The effectiveness of the sensors was tested in pigs, where they successfully adhered to the stomach lining after being delivered through an endoscope. These sensors transmitted information about how much voltage was generated that helped researchers to calculate the movements of the stomach wall. They could also distinguish when food or liquid was ingested.

“For the first time, we showed that a flexible, piezoelectric device can stay in the stomach up to two days without any electrical or mechanical degradation,” says Dagdeviren.

New Device to Treat Sleep Apnoea
Categories Medical news

FDA Approves New Treatment for Moderate to Severe Central Sleep Apnoea

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration, an agency within the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, today approved a new treatment, the Remede System for moderate to severe central sleep apnoea. It is a battery operated device that is surgically implanted in the chest to stimulate the phrenic nerve, which in turn sends signals to the diaphragm and restores normal breathing in such patients.

Sleep apnoea is a disorder that causes one or more pauses in breathing lasting from few seconds to minutes or shallow breaths during sleep. In central sleep apnoea, the brain fails to send signals to the diaphragm to breathe, causing a breathing pause of 10 seconds or more in an individual. This leads to poor sleep quality and increased risk for high blood pressure, heart attack, heart failure, stroke, obesity, and diabetes in the suffering individual.

“Remede System offers a new treatment option for central sleep apnoea. However, its risks and benefits must be weighed as compared to other treatments like medicines, airway pressure devices, and surgery” said Tina Kiang, Ph.D., acting director of the Division of Anesthesiology in the FDA’s Centre for Devices and Radiological Health

FDA evaluated 141 patients to measure the effect of the Remede System on the frequency and severity of apnoea (apnoea-hypopnoea index or AHI). After six months, AHI was seen to reduce by 50% or more in 51% patients with the implantable device as compared to 11% without this device.

However, the Remede System is not recommended for use by patients with active infection, obstructive sleep apnoea, and who require magnetic resonance imaging.

The FDA has granted approval of Remede System to Respicardia Inc.

High-Fat Diet and Colorectal Cancer
Categories Medical news

Long Awaited Link Between High-Fat Diet and Colorectal Cancer Found

Colorectal cancer, the cancer that originates in the colon or rectum, is the third most common cancer diagnosed in the United States. A plethora of studies have established a link between consumption of high-fat diet and increased risk of colorectal cancer, but the mechanism of this association was till now obscure.

As reported in the journal, Stem Cell Reports, researchers from the Cleveland Clinic in Ohio have unfolded this mechanism. In a study that utilized mice as the models, researchers have been able to identify a pathway that drives the growth of cancer stem cells in their colon in response to a high-fat diet.

Feeding the mice with high-fat diet increased the growth of cancer stem cells in their colon. Furthermore, researchers identified a cellular signalling pathway, JAK2-STAT3 that drives the growth of cancer stem cells in the colon in response to a high-fat diet. Blocking this pathway reversed the growth of cancer stem cells in colon triggered by consuming a high-fat diet.

The study was co-authored by Dr Matthew Kalady, co-director of the Comprehensive Colorectal Cancer Program at the Cleveland Clinic. “This study is first of its kind that mediates a link between high-fat diet and colorectal cancer through the demonstration of a cellular pathway; a discovery that opens the gates to new ways of treating colorectal cancer”, says Dr Kalady.

Another co-author, Justin D. Lathia further appreciates it as an insight into the influence of diet on cancer stem cells in advanced cancers.

Obese Woman May Affects Future Generation at Metabolic Risk
Categories Medical news

Obese Woman May Affects Future Generation at Metabolic Risk

Eating healthy and nutritious food keeps us healthy. However, sedentary lifestyle and switching to processed and fast foods have made obesity a popularized condition. A current mouse study, lead by Kelle H. Moley, published online in the journal Cell Reports has come up with a novel finding that a mother’s obesity leads to later obesity and other metabolic abnormalities in upcoming generations. Women following a Western diet develop metabolic and genetic abnormalities even before pregnancy which are subsequently forwarded to future generations, thereby making them prone to obesity-related conditions like Type 2 diabetes and heart disease.

This finding is pertinent since more than two-thirds of reproductive-age women in the US are obese. In the study, mice were fed a diet consisting of 60% fat and 20% sugar, nearly similar to the Western diet, right from six weeks before conception until weaning. The upcoming offsprings were then fed a diet containing high-protein, low-fat and low-sugar. Upto third descendents, the offsprings developed insulin resistance and other metabolic problems regardless of healthy diet.

Authors also found abnormal mitochondria in muscle and skeletal tissue of the progeny mice showing that mother’s obesity and associated metabolic abnormalities are inherited by transmitting dysfunctional genes of mitochondria in the unfertilized egg through the female bloodline. The mitochondrial DNA holds its own set of genes and is inherited only from mothers, not fathers. Additionally, oocytes also hoist information to program mitochondrial dysfunction throughout the body. Human offsprings are more susceptible to the effects of maternal metabolic syndrome since children follow the diets of parents