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In what is sure to be considered good news by people who like to mix the wrong cocktails with spicy foods on Friday nights, gastroenterologists have come up with a nifty new tool to help more effectively diagnose chronic heartburn.

The key to the technology is a tiny microscope at the tip of an endoscope — a flexible, lighted device that’s used to view inside the body. A blue light shines inside the body and the images are sent back to a computer. During the procedure, the doctors see the images on the screen.

“One of the advantages of the confocal laser microscope is that we can often make a diagnosis right then,” Dr. Dunbar said.

Thanks to the new device, doctors can immediately identify pre-cancerous cells and other disorders and treat them more quickly.

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