December 20 2013 Latest news:
Dr Crawford Jamieson, left, consultant in gastroenterology, talks through swallowing the pill cam with Professor Simon Carding, head of gut health and food safety at the Institute of Food Research, which will photograph his gut digesting food. Picture: Denise Bradley
By KIM BRISCOE, Health correspondent
Thursday, September 13, 2012
It is not every day you get an insider’s view of your own gut, but that is what one Norwich scientist has been able to see after swallowing a tiny camera.
The disposable device was administered under the watchful eye of Dr Crawford Jamieson, a consultant gastroenterologist at the Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital who uses the pillcam for some of his patients.
The technology was first introduced as a joint initiative between the N&N and the James Paget University Hospital in Gorleston in 2002.
In the 10 years that it has been in use, 1,000 patients have benefited from using this specialist endoscopy technique.
This is still only a small proportion of patients, as the N&N carries out 14,000 normal endoscopies each year.
Dr Jamieson said: “It enables us to look at the smaller bowel which is actually the longest part of the intestine.
“Over the last 10 years we have been able to diagnose cancers that we would never have been able to diagnose at that early stage without the technique and we have found bleeding sources and been able to treat them.
“We see patients who come from Norwich, Great Yarmouth, King’s Lynn and as far west as Peterborough.
“The important thing for the patient experience is they don’t need to stay in the hospital.
“It’s a painless technique and many patients go back to work or to do their shopping. There can be patients walking around Jarrolds having an endoscopy without anyone knowing.”
Professor Simon Carding, head of gut health and food safety at the Institute of Food Research (IFR), swallowed the ‘pillcam’ and then had an unusual breakfast of brightly-coloured peppers.
Prof Carding will be presenting the footage taken from inside his gut at the IFR’s public open day as part of a talk to help the public understand more about how the gut works and also about the institute’s research.
The tiny camera is a wireless capsule endoscope which will take 60,000 images of Prof Carding’s small bowel in a few hours, transmitting the images to a data receiver strapped to his body.
Prof Carding said: “At the open day I’ll be talking about the bacteria that lives in your gut and how it’s beneficial and essential for your health and how it contributes to our health.
“I’ll also explain how it can also cause diseases such as inflammatory bowel disease, Crohn’s and ulcerative colitis and also it’s links to obesity.
“I think seeing the footage will provide a unique opportunity for people to see what the gut actually looks like. Most people know it’s a long, long tube that runs from the mouth to the anus but they don’t know what it looks like and think it’s just like a hose pipe. But it’s not, it’s got a lot of intricate structures which are essential for breaking down food.”
The exercise is an example of how the hospital and the IFR work together as part of the Norwich Research Park and the open day will give members of the public the chance to see what goes on inside this leading research centre.
Visitors will be able to find out how it is worked out why certain foods are healthy, and how with “super-broccoli” scientists are looking to make them even healthier. They can also learn the difference between good and bad fats, and take part in a taste panel testing foods to see if they can taste the difference in low fat ice cream.
Children will be able to walk through the giant inflatable colon, as well as explore the microscopic molecular structure in foods.
Inside IFR is a free event, being held at the Institute of Food Research on the Norwich Research Park NR4 7UA, on Saturday, September 29, 10am to 4pm.
The IFR is also holding a schools day on Friday, September 28, for which there are still some places available. The schools open day is for pupils in Years 10 to 13.
To see footage taken by the capsule endoscope, log on to www.edp24.co.uk.
An eight-page supplement about the Institute of Food Research will be going in the EDP on Tuesday, September 25, ahead of the open day. It will feature the cutting-edge scientific work being done on our doorstep at Colney, an interview with the institute director and a look back at the history of food research over the last 100 years.