Physician at Cedars-Sinai tests 'FitBit for the stomach' to help post-surgery patients

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To gain more insights on the guts of overweight or post-surgery patients, physicians at Los Angeles-based Cedars Sinai invented a wearable, consumer health device that sits on patients' stomachs and reads out information, similar to how a FitBit tracks steps, CNBC reports.

AbStats is the brainchild of Brennan Spiegel, MD, a gastroenterologist at Cedars Sinai who also happens to direct the hospital's center for outcomes research and education. The center houses a multidisciplinary team that investigates how digital health technologies can fuel the physician-patient relationship, improve outcomes and cut costs.

The device uses sensors to record noises the stomach makes as it digests food or rests. Its algorithm is trained to detect relevant sounds, including cracks and rumbles.

Dr. Spiegel and his team are using AbStats on patients recovering from surgery to assess whether or not they are ready to consume liquids or solids. This technology cuts out post-surgical guesswork and helps prevent complications, which can in turn help patients return home more quickly. The team is also researching whether AbStats could be applied to patients seeking to manage or lose weight, since one reason people may put on pounds is because they eat a full meal before they finish digesting the previous one, Dr. Spiegel explained.

"If you don't give your body a chance to do that (fully digest a meal), you just start piling up the food," he told CNBC. "When you start eating, it stops that process."

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