Monday, October 23, 2006

A 'Fantastic Voyage' Into Your G.I. Tract

Feb. 20, 2006:
A little videocamera that you can swallow. Trust me, I did it.

Gastroenterology has always been high on grossness and low on glamour, but you'd never know from visiting the Manhattan offices of Dr. James Aisenberg. On a recent evening, the lanky physician led a NEWSWEEK reporter into an exam room, lowered the lights and parked at a PC. Tonight's feature presentation: a full-color video of the reporter's empretzeled innards—from gullet to gut to small intestine. Eight hours earlier, he'd swallowed a bullet-size capsule—the PillCam—packed with a tiny blinking camera set to transmit two photos per second to a wearable hard drive. Now Aisenberg was pointing out a "beautiful" shot of the bile duct. "This is the sexiest technology imaginable," he says of the device, which he's used to detect digestive-tract ailments in more than 400 patients. "It's 'Fantastic Voyage'—and it's changed gastroenterology as much as any single breakthrough in the past 10 years"...