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Scientists Develop Pill That Tracks Your Fart Dynamics In Real Time

So, as one who has definitely forced a driver to roll down all the windows on the highway, and who has cleared out a room I wasn't even in at the time, I have to admit, I'm a little curious about what's going on in my insides. There has to be more to it than just what's priming my pump, right?

Scientists are pretty curious about farts, too, although I have to imagine they giggle a lot less than I do when the subject comes up. But the device they've come up with to unlock the secrets of the fart factory is downright brilliant.

Gut health is critical for our overall health.

It's not just that you don't want to feel bloated and gassy, although nobody particularly enjoys that sensation, but your digestive tract has been shown to affect far more than just your morning elevator ride.

The bacteria that line our intestines and break down our food do so much more than just fuel farts.

They affect allergies and metabolism, too, and there's also evidence that they can influence our thoughts and feelings. No kidding! Even now, scientists are studying the links between our guts and our heads, and how those microbes might play a role in autism, anxiety, depression, and more.

So, naturally, researchers need an easy way to test how our guts are doing.

Much of that involves looking at the gases that the microbes deep down inside us produce, which has traditionally required breath tests that can produce false positives or negatives, or invasive and decidedly uncomfortable tubes. But researchers in Australia have developed a better way.

This little pill holds highly sensitive electronic components that detect and measure the gases in your gut.

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Yep, it collects the facts on your farts, getting all the inside info after you swallow it, taking a journey through your entire digestive system.

Best of all, you can track it all in real time.

The pill pairs up with a receiver that can fit in your pocket, which sends data to a mobile app.

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Because of course there's an app for that. It'll track how long the pill spends in your stomach, small intestine, and large intestine, and taking readings of oxygen, carbon dioxide, and hydrogen levels along the way.

The initial trials just to see how well the pill worked turned up some interesting results.

One lucky test subject got to swallow the pill twice, first with a high-fiber diet, and second a couple of weeks later with a low-fiber diet. And by high-fiber, we're talking in intake of 50 grams of fiber.

The upper end of recommended daily fiber is about 30 grams.

Although most of us don't get enough fiber, 50 grams is definitely too much.

In that trial, the pill passed quickly on the high-fiber diet, in about 23 hours, but the guy suffered for it with considerable abdominal pain.

The pill also recorded higher levels of oxygen in the colon, which is not good because the microbes there tend to live without oxygen.

So this little pill is already proving its worth as a diagnostic tool.

The fact that it's non-invasive is incredible, and its accuracy has the scientists excited.

"The rate of false positive and false negative diagnosis that breath tests give is a real problem in gastroenterology,” said the pill's co-inventor, Dr. Kyle Berean. "Being able to measure these biomarkers at concentrations over 3,000 times greater than breath tests is quite astonishing."

h/t Ars Technica