Science and Technology Update – February 13, 2014

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By Science and Technology Staff

Colon Camera

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has approved a pill-sized camera that can be swallowed and digested. The pill camera is made by Given Imaging. The newly approved medical procedure will allow doctors to watch the pill as it traveled through a patient’s digestive tract, capturing pictures along the way. The camera provides a convenient and much needed alternative to the invasive colonoscopy procedure that currently involves the use of a four-foot long flexible tube with a camera at the end.

Oldest Known star found

Scientists at the Australian National University have discovered the oldest known star in the universe. The newly-discovered star is approximately 13.6 billion years old and will hopefully provide useful information for studying and understanding the chemistry of the first stars to ever exist. The star is over 6,000 lightyears from Earth, and was a very unlikely find. The chance of spotting the ancient star was reporedly less than one in sixty million. The find was confirmed by the Magellan telescope in Chile.

At-home cancer testing

A new at-home test is capable of identifying 79 percent of colorectal cancers. The test, which only requires patients to obtain a stool sample and then send it into a lab, is capable of correctly identifying 94 percent of patients who do not have cancers of either the rectum or the colon. Colorectal cancer currently kills the second-greatest number of people of any cancer in the United States, yet, reportedly, one of every three adults is not screened for it. The test, a Fecal Immunochemical Test (FIC) is recommended for anyone over the age of 50. The test does not require any change in diet or medication whatsoever.

 

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