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article imageCanadian athletes to monitor core temperatures using E-pill

By Karen Graham     Aug 5, 2018 in Technology
In preparation for the heat at the Tokyo Olympics in 2020, Canadian athletes will test out a new technology at the NACAC track and field championships that is intended to measure the body's core temperature during activity and at rest.
Founded in 2011, Caen, France-based BodyCap is a company that specializes in the development of miniature electronic sensors and monitors for continuous measurement of patients’ physiological variables.
In 2015, BodyCap came out with e-Celsius, a miniaturized electronic pill that communicates wirelessly an accurate measurement of core temperature. After being swallowed, it moves down the GI tract, where every 30 seconds, the device wirelessly transmits data to an “e-Viewer” that displays the readings and records the temperature during the pill’s journey.
The e-viewer can be programmed to issue alerts if the temperature moves outside of a set range. The pill, when provided, is in standby mode. An activation box enables wake-up and association with the monitor for data collection in real time mode or by recovery from the internal memory of e-Celsius with no loss of data, according to the e-Celsius website.
A single monitor can be associated simultaneously with up to three pills, enabling extended uses. Thanks to a dedicated interface the user can download data into a PC/MAC for storage.
Canada's 2020 Tokyo Olympics team
Preparing for the heat at the Olympics is part and parcel of the training for the athletic events in Tokyo and a handful of Canadian athletes will be testing out the e-Celsius technology at the NACAC track and field championships Aug. 10-12 in Toronto.
"That pill is going to change the way that we understand how the body responds to heat because we just get so much information that wasn't possible before," says Evan Dunfee, a race walker. Dunfee, who was fourth at the 2016 Rio Olympics, will be among those athletes testing the e-pills.
"Swallow a pill, and after the race or after the training session, Trent will come up, and just hold the phone to your stomach and download all the information. It's pretty crazy." Trent Stellingwerff is a sports scientist who works with Canada's Olympic athletes, reports CBC Canada.
"The two biggest factors of core temperature are obviously the outdoor humidex, heat, and humidity, but also exercise intensity," Stellingwerff says.
Here's how the technology can help in training and working out a competition strategy: By monitoring the core temperature of an endurance athlete, we can find out when an athlete's body begins to shut down during a race. So knowing this, it is simply a matter of taking that measurement and working it into the actual temperature and humidity of a location.
"It's: 'OK, we've done the heat profiling on you, so if it's 40 Celsius and 90 percent humidity in Tokyo, this is probably the pace you should think about for the first half of the race. If it's 30 Celsius, OK, we can be a bit more aggressive and you can probably go at this kind of a pace,"'Stellingwerff said, reports the Vancouver Courier.
That's not the only technology available
Wearables are a big thing now, especially for athletes and patients who need to be monitored for dehydration. There are wearable sweat patches that measure sodium, glucose, and proteins in the sweat, as well as cortisol levels.
Cortisol is a hormone produced in the adrenal glands that help control blood sugar levels, regulate metabolism, help reduce inflammation and assist with memory and mood disorders. It is also responsible for maintenance of salt and water balance and helps control blood pressure.
Paralympic North Korean skier Kim Jong Hyon starts the men's 15km sitting cross-country
Paralympic North Korean skier Kim Jong Hyon starts the men's 15km sitting cross-country
"So we can use all of that stuff to get a good idea of how we adapt to the heat," Dunfee said. Stellingwerff said using one of these wearables will be very important for athletes competing in the Paralympic games because spinal cord injuries inhibit the ability to sweat.
"If you can't sweat you can't dissipate heat if you can't dissipate heat . . . there's a potential to spiral out of control quite quickly," Stellingwerff said.
Acclamation is the best weapon for preparing for the heat, and the Canadian team will be flying to Tokyo a couple weeks ahead of the start of the Olympics. The Tokyo Olympics are July 24-Aug. 9, while the Paralympics are Aug. 25-Sept. 6, 2020.
More about BodyCap, Epill, Athletes, core temperature, Ecelsius
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