Your browser is no longer supported

For the best possible experience using our website we recommend you upgrade to a newer version or another browser.


Your browser appears to have cookies disabled. For the best experience of this website, please enable cookies in your browser

We'll assume we have your consent to use cookies, for example so you won't need to log in each time you visit our site.
Learn more

Computer-cooling devices used to treat digestive illness

  • Comment

Patients with digestive problems are being aided by a treatment that uses technology designed to cool down computers.

It is hoped the device will allow health professionals to offer tailor-made treatment by detecting temperature changes in a patient’s oesophagus.

Previous studies have shown people with digestive disorders can develop heat sensitivity in some of their nerves a few degrees lower than in people without such disorders.

Now scientists at the Royal London Hospital in Whitechapel, east London, have adapted ‘Peltier’ technology used in computers in order to measure patients’ sensitivity to temperature changes.

The new device is inserted into the throat, without the need for surgery, and heated up. Once the patient can feel a heat sensation, they push a button and the temperature of the device is recorded.

After around 30 to 45 minutes after recording responses, experts can calculate treatments specifically targeted at controlling this nerve sensation.

Oesophageal disorders range from reflux and chronic heartburn to aggressive oesophagus cancer.

Healthcare scientist, Dr Jonathan Reeves, from The Royal London’s clinical physics unit, said: ‘What we need is new sensory testing techniques to better understand the underlying mechanisms of oesophageal pain.’

  • Comment

Have your say

You must sign in to make a comment

Please remember that the submission of any material is governed by our Terms and Conditions and by submitting material you confirm your agreement to these Terms and Conditions. Links may be included in your comments but HTML is not permitted.