Saturday, May 5, 2012


I don't know why I stress about coming up with topics.  They are just lying around waiting to be noticed.

I have never doubted the power of the white coat to make us swallow just about anything.  Behold, Future World - the Pill Cam.  

More boringly known as video capsule endoscopy, this is exactly what it looks like it is.  And I expect that given time, you too will decide that "they must know what they're doing."

The floor is now open for questions.

Ok, well, I just want to know how big that is.
This is like that weird hamburger pinky-hold you see in commercials, which disguise the size of what's on the value meal.  The capsule looks big enough already... girth-wise... but you can't see the end of it.  Another way to obfuscate is to use metrics:  " Both PillCam SB and ESO video capsules are 11 mm x 26 mm and weigh less than 4 grams."

So... how big?
I have no idea.  I'm American.  This big:

And it does what, now?
"The smooth plastic capsule contains a miniature video camera and is equipped with a light source on one end, batteries, a radio transmitter and antenna. After it is swallowed, the PillCam SB capsule transmits approximately 50,000 images over the course of an 8-hour period (about 2 images per second) to a data recording device attached to a belt worn around the patient’s waist. The small bowel images are then downloaded into a Given® Workstation computer where a physician can review the images in order to make a diagnosis."

Oh, but why?
I believe you are familiar with the alternative method. 

How come I can't swallow a watch battery, but I can swallow this?
"PillCam SB was initially cleared by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration in 2001."
That's not an answer.
It is to them. 

Ok, so I swallow a camera, and... what is it again?
From what I can make out in this video, it  is a microchip, a... ball bearing?, 2 button batteries, some kind of copper coil, encased in plastic, like a toy from a gumball machine. 

yuh-hunnh.... go ahead....
"PillCam capsule endoscopy offers a simple, safe and non-invasive alternative to traditional imaging procedures."

It's an interesting use of "non-invasive" that you have. 
Then look at this! 

I am always amazed how much our innards look like pasta.
Make sure you pause that first frame to learn that this V2 is not yet approved in the US.  But by all means "ask your doctor."

I suppose I know how this ends.
"Both the PillCam SB and PillCam ESO disposable capsules make their way through the rest of the gastrointestinal tract and then are passed naturally and painlessly from the body, usually within 24 hours."

{{sigh}}  Side Effects?
When will you ask this question first?  WHEN, America.
You shouldn't use it if you have a gastrointestinal obstruction.  Recreational purposes only, one would assume.     
"Capsule retention" may occur.  I expect it's on YOU to determine whether it has.

"There is a rare risk of capsule aspiration while patients are attempting to swallow a PillCam video capsule or Agile patency capsule.  There is also a low risk of skin irritation from the SensorArray sleeve adhesive or silicone exposure.
Medical, endoscopic, or surgical intervention may be necessary to address any of these complications, should they occur."

I thought you might say that.

Modern medicine is a marvel, isn't it?


  1. Given the very slow journey through the colon that some patients experience,an endoscopy or colonoscopy will reveal results a hell of a lot sooner than swallowing this device and waiting for it "to pass!" I think I will also pass on this device. Where in the world do you find this kind of information? M

  2. But does it have WIFI? Why do we have to wait for it to pass? Why can't we sream it's leisurely riverboat trip down our colon to someone (or some server) who cares vs. the thrilling prospect of retrieving it after it goes over Niagra Falls, as it were?

    1. It should have Wi-Fi, then a real time monitoring can help doctors to react immediately.

  3. I'll have you know this led me to watching a long series of colon cruise videos on youtube, along with a few other random medical procedures. Cool!


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