Researchers from the University of California – San Diego have developed a wearable system to monitor electrical activity in the stomach over 24 hours. The findings have been published in Scientific Reports.
The non-invasive wearable system consists of a 3-D printed portable box that is connected to 10 small wearable electrodes that fit on the abdomen just over the stomach. It is used to monitor gastrointestinal (GI) activity in an outpatient setting and can monitor for long periods, increasing the chances of capturing any abnormal activity. In order to recognize the stomach’s electrical signals, the researchers developed an algorithm which separates out and distinguishes between abdominal muscle activity, heart beats, and gastric activity.
When tested in 11 children and 1 adult, the data collected by the wearable system was found to be comparable to data collected by manometry (an invasive method where a catheter is inserted through the patient’s nose to measure pressure inside the stomach). The findings also showed that electrical activity in the GI tract follows its own circadian rhythm, as demonstrated by changes seen during sleep, not just around mealtime.
“We think our system will spark a new kind of medicine, where a gastroenterologist can quickly see where and when a part of the GI tract is showing abnormal rhythms and as a result make more accurate, faster and personalized diagnoses,” said Armen Ghariban, the study’s lead author.
Dr. Hayat Mousa from Rady Children’s Hospital in San Diego added, “It provides the information without need for sedation and it offers the flexibility to monitor kids while they continue their daily activities. This procedure allows convenience without compromising accuracy. In addition, it offers the option to assess the brain-gut response to therapeutic interventions including biofeedback and neuromodulation.”
The wearable system is paired with a smartphone app where patients can enter their meals, sleep, and other activities.
For more information visit nature.com.