Smart pills can help your health

November 15, 2011 1:55:27 PM PST
Pills are being designed to help you like never before.

A pillcam is swallowed and the tiny camera inside wirelessly beams pictures of your digestive track to this device.

"The pillcam sends images, two per second to the recording device resulting in approximately 55-thousand to 58-thousand images over an approximate eight hour time frame," said Dr. Lori Mahajan, fellowship director of pediatric gastroenterology at Cleveland Clinic Children's Hospital.

It's called capsule endoscopy allowing doctors to look deep into the small intestine where traditional endoscopy tools can't reach.

It helped Jessie Krusinski figure out what was causing his pain and discomfort.

"I was frustrated, I was tired of not knowing the answer," he said.

After two years of testing and no answers, the pill cam revealed dozens of ulcers.

"This otherwise would be undiagnosable by any other technology," said Dr. Mahajan.

Meanwhile, researchers in Japan are working on the mermaid pill. It also takes pictures of the digestive system, but its self propelled and has a fin so it can be guided to certain areas by remote control. Capsules like this may one day help with more than just making a diagnosis, according to Ryukoku University.

"They may be an option in the future for removing polyps or treating blood lesions," said Dr. Mahajan

And at the University of Florida researchers have created a prototype of the so-called tattletale pill. It has antenna technology printed right on the pill.

Once you swallow it, the antenna sends a signal directly to a cell phone or laptop.

Helping doctors and family members know if you're actually taking your medication and when.