Today’s Solutions: December 03, 2021

While a colonoscopy is an important tool for detecting abnormalities in the large intestine (colon), these exams are no joy for patients. If you aren’t familiar with what happens in a colonoscopy, it basically involves a long tube with a tiny video camera at the tip that is inserted into the rectum to view the inside of the colon.

Fortunately, scientists have come up with a far less invasive way to inspect the colon. This alternative comes in the form of a swallowable pill that acts like a colonoscopy, except that instead of looking at the colon with a camera, it takes samples of gut bacteria.

The tool is a drug-like capsule that passively weasels through the gut without needing a battery. A pill version of a colonoscopy is already commercially available to view areas of the colon that a traditional colonoscopy can’t see, but neither tool can sample bacteria.  

Your gut bacteria can say a lot about you, such as why you’re diabetic or how you respond to certain drugs, but scientists can see only so much of the gastrointestinal tract. What comes out of you is just a small sample of these bacteria, without indicating where they came from in the digestive system.

The technology could also move throughout the whole GI tract, not just the colon. This tract, in addition to the colon, includes the mouth, esophagus, stomach, pancreas, liver, gallbladder, small intestine, and rectum. Essentially, this tool would make it possible to conduct a “gut-oscopy.”

And the great thing is that creating such a bacteria-sampling capsule is much cheaper than a typical colonoscopy, with each capsule costing only about a dollar.

Solutions News Source Print this article
More of Today's Solutions

Rwanda’s mountain gorillas represent a successful conservation story

Following years of poaching and habitat destruction, the population of mountain gorillas in Rwanda once numbered under 260 individuals. Now, Rwandan gorillas represent a rare conservation success and a key economic engine for the East ... Read More

Germany plans to put 15 million electric vehicles on its roads by 2030

Making electric cars the dominant vehicles on the road is key to curbing planet-warming emissions and protecting the climate. In a bid to reach that goal, an increasing number of countries and cities across the ... Read More

Here are 5 Indigenous-led eco-charities you can support today

The climate crisis has caused us to reconsider our consumerist lifestyles and turn to Indigenous peoples to learn from their superior understanding of living in harmony with nature. Here is a list of five organizations ... Read More

Scientists discover a peculiar new planet

Deep into the Hercules constellation, 855 light-years away from Earth, lies a record breaking exoplanet. This newly discovered gas giant was named TOI-2109b, and the thing that makes it so special is the fact it ... Read More

High altitude experiment shows that snow monkeys are excellent at fishing

Snow monkeys, also known as the Japanese macaque, are native to many of the main islands of Japan. These fluffy creatures are the most northern-based non-human primate out there, meaning they have some cold temperatures ... Read More