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Electronic Pill Helps Combat Obesity Eating Disorders

By HospiMedica International staff writers
Posted on 06 May 2015
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Image: The prototype Melcap capsule (Photo courtesy of Melcap).
Image: The prototype Melcap capsule (Photo courtesy of Melcap).
A prototype electronic capsule delivers electrical stimulation to the muscles of the stomach wall, giving the patient a feeling of satiety and reducing their urge for food intake.

The MelCap system is comprised of three main parts; a remotely controlled capsule adapted for ingestion or placement into the gastrointestinal tract (GT); a remote control device or smartphone for controlling and sharing information with the capsule; and a magnetic coupling system for fixing the capsule within the GI tract of the patient. The capsule, the size of a large pill, is first swallowed by the patient. Upon arrival into the stomach, it absorbs stomach fluids, increasing its size, enabling it to remain in place and operate continuously.

Once in place, the magnetic coupling system is used to position it in the specific spot selected within the stomach, be it near the lower esophagus sphincter (LES) or in proximity to the vagus nerve. The pill unfurls a mesh filled with inflated particles and the wireless device is then used to activate the pill. When it receives the signal, the pill delivers a series of electrical pulses to stimulate the lining of the stomach. Depending on the pill’s location, different effects can be achieved to tailor the therapy to individual patient needs.

These could include, for example, gastric electrical stimulation (GES), LES muscle simulation, or vagus nerve blocking. The capsule continues to deliver electrical stimulation for up to 21 days, continuously monitored and controlled remotely by the wireless device. When exhausted, some of the biologic components are absorbed, while the electronic components are expelled from the system. The MelCap system is a product of Melcap (Ramat Gan, Israel).

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