United States: The researchers have discovered a new pill that can assist in monitoring health problems. The latest research published in the journal Device underscored that a new “technopill,” named vitals-monitoring (VM) Pills, monitors the initial symptoms and signs from inside the patients’ bodies.

The pill will track the small vibrations in the body of an individual – linked to the breathing of lungs and heartbeats. It will also assist in detecting the reason behind breath stopping, offering the potential to deliver instant information on individuals vulnerable to opioid overdose.

A lead researcher, Giovanni Traverso – who is an associate professor in the Department of Mechanical Engineering at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and a gastroenterology expert at Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston, “The ability to facilitate diagnosis and monitor many conditions without having to go into a hospital can provide patients with easier access to healthcare and support treatment,” as per HealthDay News.

The researchers have further outlined that it is easy to conduct monitoring through ingestible devices as it doesn’t require surgical procedure – unlike implanting of pacemakers. Furthermore, it briefed that the experts have been working on several other devices.

The researchers also cited an example related to the conduction of colonoscopies with the help of pill-sized ingestible cameras.

Another co-researcher, Benjamin Pless – who is the founder of Celero System, a medical device developer based in Massachusetts, stated, “The idea of using an ingestible device is that a physician can prescribe these capsules, and all the patient needs to do is to swallow it. People are accustomed to taking pills, and the costs of using ingestible devices are much more affordable than performing traditional medical procedures.”

Researchers used pigs to test VM Pigs

According to the details shared by the researchers and authors of the study, the VM Pill was tested on anesthetized pigs. The pigs ate a dose of fentanyl, causing breathing stoppage. The experts further highlighted that this is the same as it happens among humans when they overdose.

Visual Representative of a pig in a laboratory | Credits: Getty Images

The findings told the researchers about the breathing rate of the pigs. The pill also helped in informing the experts about the animals who were able to reverse the overdose, according to HealthDay News.

In addition to this, the VM Pill was also swallowed by the people who are suffering from sleep apnea – to conduct human testing. It is to be noted that this sleeping disorder is associated with breathing stopping and starting during sleep. The doctors find it difficult to identify the condition as a person dealing with it has to sleep in a laboratory, along with the devices.

Through the news release in the journal, Pless mentioned, “Given our interest in opioid safety, it came to our attention that sleep apnea has a lot of the same symptoms as opioid-induced respiratory depression.”

What else does the pill measure?

According to the researchers, the pill can monitor the heart rate with an accuracy of around ninety-six percent (96%). The pill can be largely considered a choice because it can be safely excreted by the participants within a few days.

According to HealthDay News, another co-researcher, Ali Rezai, who is a neuroscientist at the Rockefeller Neuroscience Institute at West Virginia University, stated, “The accuracy and correlation of these recordings were excellent compared to the clinical gold standard studies we performed in our sleep laboratories.”

“The ability to remotely monitor critical vital signals from patients without wires, leads, or need of medical technicians opens the door for monitoring patients in their natural environments versus the clinic or the hospital setting,” Rezai further added.


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