New project at ArtFab:
Title: Investigations of Intestinal Activity Using Sound Analysis, A Proposal to the Disruptive Health Technology Institute
Investigators: George Loewenstein (Professor of Economics and Psychology), Ali Momeni (Associate Professor, School of Art), Richard Stern (Professor, Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering),
Abstract: Extensive research supports the commonplace intuition that there is strong connection between gut and brain, and neural connections between the brain and the ‘enteric nervous system” (a network of approximately 100 million neurons embedded in the intestinal wall) have been identified, including, most significantly, the vagal nerve. Yet investigations of the nature of this link have been stymied by the lack of non-intrusive methods of measuring intestinal activity. Combining the expertise of a behavioral researcher with a track record of research in neuroscience and an electrical engineer with deep experience in acoustics and signal processing, we propose to use a new acoustic gut activity apparatus we have developed to study a wide range of phenomena involving the brain-gut connection. After validating and calibrating the apparatus, we propose to conduct a series of studies examining the determinants of gut activity and activity- suppression, of the ability to identify gastric disorders on the basis of sounds, and of the potential use of the apparatus as a therapeutic tool for enabling gut regulation via bio- feedback. We believe that this work is very likely to lead to future fundable research, entrepreneurial activity and potentially even the creation of a new academic field: psycho- gastroenterology.
With support from a Frank-Ratchye Fund for Art at the Frontier (FRFAF) grant from the Studio for Creative Inquiry, we purchased a ThinkLabs ThinkOne electronic stethoscope and did a comparative recording of gut-sounds before and after a breakfast sandwich, using several microphones. Check out the results below.