Diagnosing diseases from the smell of your farts

Bradley Wint
Apr 4, 2016 10:33pm AST

Maybe smelling your own farts might be a good thing?

Ok, that’s not what scientists are really looking to do but they believe that analyzing the gases our body produces at different points within our system may give us a clue to diagnose potential diseases we may have.

According to Peter Gibson of the Monash University, measuring flatulence only tells us about the health of the last 20cm of our GI tract and does not give us a true picture of what’s going on in our bodies as those gases tend to change composition as they get closer to their exit point.

Beyond breath tests, there aren’t any other viable methods of measuring the make-up of gases being expelled within our body. As a result, Gibson and his colleagues have developed a very tiny sensor that can be swallowed. Once inside our system, the unit will take regular readings of gas composition, acidity, temperature, until it’s passed out in our stool.


This reminds me of that scene in The Island where Dr. Merrick places a few probes in Lincoln’s eye, but luckily, this sensor is not even remotely as painful, as it’s as simple as swallowing a pill.

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The sensor can relay information directly back to the doctor’s PC or tablet, providing them with an immediate idea of what’s going inside the subject’s body.

Currently the product is being tested on pigs, but they are set to run human trials a few months from now.

Once proven safe and successful, the scientists can then use the probes to build gas profiles to understand what underlying problems (such as diet changes, diseases, or other issues) result in irregular gas expulsion.

[Image: jfcbrunssum/Flickr]

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