Penn State mechanical engineers, working with medical and pharmaceutical researchers, have developed the first computer-generated "virtual stomach" to follow the path of extended-release tablets that are designed to remain in the stomach for hours while slowly releasing medicine.
The researchers note that, although many medications are prepared in extended-release form, the details of exactly how the pills break down and release medicine in the stomach are largely unknown. The new "virtual stomach" has shown that tablet motion and mixing are highly sensitive to the pills location in the stomach and to the coordination between the stomachs contractions and the opening and closing of the valve leading to the intestines.
Dr. James G. Brasseur, professor of mechanical engineering and leader of the project, says, "We can simulate the tablet breaking down with our new approach, watch the slow release of medication happen in a computer movie and analyze the process. Computer simulation allows us to control the stomach and therefore provides more detail than you could get with human or even animal experiments. In fact, computer simulation may be the only way to observe the stomachs mechanical processes in such fine detail."
Barbara Hale | EurekAlert!
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