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Patients swallow computer technology to sort out their gullet

PUBLISHED: 11:58 17 June 2009 | UPDATED: 14:27 05 October 2010

TECHNOLOGY used to cool down computers could help patients with eating problems following ground-breaking research. Experts at the Royal London Hospital in Whitechapel are working on a device to detect temperature changes in the gullet to help diagnose problems with the digestive system

By Gemma Collins

TECHNOLOGY used to cool down computers could help patients with eating problems following ground-breaking research.

Experts at the Royal London Hospital in Whitechapel are working on a device to detect temperature changes in the gullet to help diagnose problems with the digestive system.

But NHS health chiefs say sufferers of digestive disorders, such as chronic heartburn and even aggressive oesophagus cancer, can develop heat sensitivity in some of their nerves a few degrees lower than people without the disorders.

So the new device, based on Peltier technology used in computers, is inserted into the throat without the need for surgery.

COOL

Dr Jonathan Reeves said: “Peltier technology cools high performance components in computers, so people may be surprised to hear we are using it to help diagnose disorders of the oesophagus.

“There is no comparable existing product that provides the fine control and rapid changes in temperature.”

The device is heated up and the patient feels a sensation which is then recorded to help diagnose treatments specifically targeted at controlling this nerve sensation.

Scientists are hoping to have the device ready for trial in two years.

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