As much as 20% of the US population has a form of functional dyspepsia which is a disorder of the digestive tract. 10% of the people who see their physicians are there for gastrointestinal problems. When diagnosing severe GI issues a catheter is normally inserted through the nose to the stomach which is not only invasive, but requires staying in a specialized facility and being sedentary. In a recent paper published by Nature a group of researchers have been refining EGG (electrogastrogram) technology to work around the present day catheter solution. They have attached a traditional brain EEG to the belly to amplify the digestive tracts slow wave frequencies. This non-invasive solution could help clarify if a problem is even GI related and what segment of the digestive tract is not operating correctly.
The GI innovation group which is primarily based out of UC San Diego has been tasked with finding new gastroenterology technologies by working with bioengineers, radiologists and pediatric MDs. This group is responsible for the Nature paper where 11 children with GI issues were tested using both traditional catheter method and comparing results with the EGG research.
The data from the EGG is layered with that of an accelerometer and a smart phone app where users of the device record events (symptoms and meals). Meals were isolated with five hours of fasting to help normalize background noise. The artifacts are then removed from the data so a daily timeline can be generated to provide more insight as to when events occur and possibly tie back to specific nutrition sources or activities.
The hardware used for the EGG was based on a 24-bit ADC (TI ADS1299) with multiple channels. The OpenBCI Cyton Biosensing board includes an SD Card and accelerometer and is likely the base hardware used for this project.