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Pill Cam – How a Pill Can Diagnose Your Digestive Problems – How Nutrition Changes Your Life

Dr. Mullin the Director of GI Complementary and Alternative Medicine (CAM) at Johns Hopkins Hospital joins Craig to discuss the transforming impact of nutrition on your life. His Complementary and Alternative Medicine expertise is in gastroenterology (GI) issues.

There is an increasing trend in the utilization and incorporation of Complementary and Alternative Medicine (CAM) strategies in the promotion of health and management of disease.

The Food As Medicine Program is a program designed to integrate nutrition into Clinical practice, Medical education, and Community health at the Center for Mind-Body Medicine and is a separate entity.

Over the past 20 years, an explosion of scientific studies has established that our emotions and outlook — our state of mind — can exert a strong influence on the state of our health. In Mind-Body Unity: A New Vision for Mind-Body Science and Medicine.

The newest technology in Capsule Endoscopy such as the Pill Cam, a vitamin-sized video camera a patient swallows which sends images to a data recorder as it travels through the small intestine. It is used after a colonoscopy or gastroscopy has been performed without revealing a diagnosis. This site has great visuals and information.

What is PillCam™ Capsule Endoscopy?

PillCam™ Capsule Endoscopy enables your doctor to examine the three portions (duodenum, jejunum, ileum) of your small intestine. Your doctor will use a vitamin-pill sized video capsule as an endoscope, which has its own lens and light source. While the video capsule travels through your body, images are sent to a datarecorder you will wear on a waistbelt. Afterwards your doctor will view the images on a video monitor.

Why is PillCam™ Capsule Endoscopy Performed?

PillCam™ Capsule Endoscopy helps your doctor determine the cause for recurrent or persistent symptoms such as abdominal pain, diarrhea, bleeding or anemia after a gastroscopy and a colonoscopy has been performed without revealing a diagnosis. In certain chronic gastrointestinal diseases the method can also help to evaluate the extent to which your small intestine is involved or monitor the effect of therapeutics. Your doctor might use PillCam™ Capsule Endoscopy to obtain motility data such as gastric or small bowel passage time.

The PillCam™ ESO video capsule is specifically designed to view the inner lining of the Esophagus. The capsule is equipped with miniature cameras on both ends and is about the size of a multi-vitamin, which can be swallowed easily.

Three sensor arrays are strategically placed on the patient’s chest and connected to a data recorder, worn on a belt around the waist.

The patient swallows the capsule lying down, and is then raised in a series of inclinations over a total of 5 minutes. The PillCam™ ESO travels through the esophagus by normal peristaltic waves, flashing 14 times per second, each time capturing images of the inner lining of the esophagus.

As it continues down the esophagus, the images captured may identify potential abnormalities, such as Esophagitis – which is inflammation of the lining of the esophagus often caused by Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease or GERD. Severity of symptoms is measured by a Grading system, and in severe cases, esophageal ulcers can appear.

Images captured by the PillCam™ ESO may also identify symptoms of Barrett’s Esophagus, which occurs as a result of abnormal cell growth in the lower esophagus. Columnar cells, typically found in the lining of the stomach, replace the squamous cells in the lining of the esophagus, which can lead to a cancerous condition.

During this five-minute procedure, the PillCam™ ESO captures images, which are transmitted to the sensor arrays. These images then travel from the sensors, along the wires to the DataRecorder™. At this point, the patient is permitted to get up and walk or remain seated for an additional 15 minutes to ensure the capsule has traveled the entire length of the esophagus. After dropping into the stomach, the pill is later excreted naturally.

Once all equipment is removed from the patient, the portable DataRecorder™ downloads the video images to a designated workstation, from which the physician views and assesses the results in order to recommend next steps in the patient’s treatment.

With the increase in mind-body diseases such as, IBS, IBD and Crohn’s Diseases affecting 10-15% of Americans, the Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine is at the forefront of gastroenterological health care issues.

Medical experts are talking about a new health epidemic — one that most thought was eliminated decades ago. It’s a lack of vitamin D.

Vitamin D is a fat-soluble substance (it dissolves in and can be stored by fat deposits in the body). Called the sunshine vitamin because people make their own when sunlight hits the skin, vitamin D is also found in fortified milk, one of the few food sources for this nutrient. With people spending more time indoors, especially as cold weather approaches, and the frequent swapping of milk for soda Americans aren’t getting the vitamin D they need.

Vitamin D (in its active form, which is created after several modifications by the body) functions as a hormone which means it binds to receptors in various tissues to influence the expression of genes, thereby affecting a range of processes, especially the regulation of calcium.Vitamin D deficiency causes muscle weakness, increasing the risk of falling and fractures. Vitamin D deficiency also has other serious consequences on overall health and well-being. There is mounting scientific evidence that implicates vitamin D deficiency with an increased risk of type I diabetes, multiple sclerosis, rheumatoid arthritis, hypertension, cardiovascular heart disease, and new epidemiologic evidence suggests that vitamin D may be protective against some common cancers. These include colon, breast, and prostate cancer.

The common assumption has been that with the fortification of milk, instituted in the United States in the 1930s, and casual exposure to sunshine, most people get all the vitamin D they need. It has become clear that vitamin D deficiency (usually defined as blood levels of less than 15 ng/mL [or nanograms/milliliter]) and insufficiency (less than 20 or according to most experts probably less than 30 ng/mL) are far more widespread than researchers had expected.

About Dr. Mullin

Dr. Gerard Mullin is an authority on the transformative impact of nutrition on health as well as a leading expert on cutting edge Complementary and Alternative Medicine. He has been recognized as one of “America’s Top Physicians” by The Consumers’ research Council since 2004 and his articles have appeared in numerous medical journals including the Journal of the American Medical Association, the New England Journal of Medicine, Gastroenterology and The Journal of Clinical Immunology.

Dr. Mullin is Director of GI Complementary and Alternative Medicine as well as Director of Capsule Endoscopy at The Johns Hopkins Hospital’s Division of Gastroenterology and Liver Disease.

In addition to his work at Johns Hopkins, he is also on the faculty of The Center for Mind-Body Medicine’s groundbreaking program, Food As Medicine, the nation’s leading nutrition training program for physicians, medical school faculty and other health professionals.

About the Johns Hopkins Division of Gastroenterology and Hepatology

U.S. News & World Report has ranked The Johns Hopkins Division of Gastroenterology and Hepatology Division as one of the top three GI programs in the United States for the ninth consecutive year. The faculty and staff are nationally and internationally recognized for their achievements in patient care as well as in research.

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