Thursday, June 23, 2011

Self-propelled endoscope shoots images inside stomach, colon

Japan develops 'swimming' capsule endoscope AFP/JIJI Press – A Japanese researcher displays a self-propelled remote controlled capsule endoscope that can "swim" …

OSAKA (Kyodo) -- A research team in western Japan has successfully captured images inside a human's stomach and colon using a self-propelled, remote-controlled capsule endoscope it developed, it said Tuesday.
About 1 centimeter in diameter and 4.5 cm in length, the device has a tail fin-like driving gear that allows for precise control of its direction and location, and hence could help doctors diagnose diseases such as cancer, said the team comprising members including researchers from Ryukoku University and Osaka Medical College.
Designed to be swallowed for examination of the stomach and inserted rectally for the colon, it could also reduce burdens on patients, said Naotake Otsuka, professor emeritus at Ryukoku University's Faculty of Science and Technology in Otsu, Shiga Prefecture.
This is the first time in the world that a self-propelled endoscope was successful in moving from the anus to the colon as well as for it to shoot images inside the colon, the team said.
Unlike conventional products that do not come with a driving gear and are thus hard to control, the newly developed endoscope has the potential for use in the entire digestive canal, including the small intestine, which has been difficult to shoot, it said.
The new device may make it possible to examine the whole human digestive canal from the esophagus to the colon in a few hours.
The endoscope, nicknamed "Mermaid," is capable of taking two shots per second, while its driving gear is powered by an electromagnet.
The battery for the endoscope's camera lasts around eight to 10 hours, and the device can move tens of centimeters per second outside the human body.
During a news conference in Osaka Prefecture to announce the device, the team displayed images that show the Mermaid traveling inside the stomach and colon being propelled by its tail fin. It also displayed pictures taken by the endoscope, showing the inside of a human body's internal organs.
Otsuka said he did not experience any difficulty when he swallowed the Mermaid endoscope.
(Mainichi Japan) June 21, 2011

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