It is hoped the discovery of these chemical profiles will lead to the development of an electronic device capable of rapid diagnosis at the bedside, saving both time and money.
The study has just been published online in The FASEB Journal. It is the result of a collaboration between Dr Chris Probert, Consultant and Reader in Gastroenterology at Bristol University and Professor Norman Ratcliffe at the University of the West of England.
For a long time it has been known that stools have distinctive and different odours if there is an infection. What the researchers have done is to take this 'knowledge' a step further by analysing the odour of faeces from healthy donors and comparing it with patients with gastrointestional disease to see if precise chemical profiles can be established.
The researchers found that the faeces of patients with ulcerative colitis, Campylobacter jejuni and Clostridium difficile (C. Diff.) all had significantly different chemical compositions.
Dr Chris Probert said: "The discovery of chemical profiles is a major step forward in the diagnosis and treatment of people with gastrointestinal disease. Early treatment of Clostridium difficile means patients have a much better chance of survival and fewer complications. However, at present the average length of time taken to diagnose the condition is eight days. "
The next stage of the academics' research is to develop a prototype rapid diagnosis device able to be operated by healthcare staff at all levels.
Professor Norman Ratcliffe, of UWE's Centre for Research in Analytical, Materials and Sensors Science, said: "There are numerous different kinds of infection that cause diarrhoea and a speedy diagnosis would lead to more appropriate use of antibiotics. A rapid diagnosis device has the potential to save lives and reduce the cost burden to the NHS. Early isolation of infectious patients would reduce hospital outbreaks leading to fewer ward/hospital closures."
Two of the most common types of infectious diarrhoea are Campylobacter jejuni and Clostridium difficile (C. Diff.). Although less well known than the MRSA superbug, C. Diff. is just as serious, and affects more than 50,000 people each year in England and Wales at a cost to the NHS of around £60 million.
Dr Chris Probert added: "There is a huge potential for a rapid diagnosis device in the UK - 30,000 samples are tested in Bristol alone each year. However, the device could be adapted for use in developing countries where 7,000 children die as a result of diarrhoea every day. Our next aim is to produce a prototype device capable of diagnosing in any healthcare setting."
"Rapid diagnosis of intestinal illnesses is as useful a contribution to public health as one could imagine," said Gerald Weissman, M.D., editor-in-chief of the FASEB Journal. "The method developed by Garner et al is not only useful, but also imaginative."
Last year the team were awarded £353,000 by the Wellcome Trust under their University Translation Award scheme and this study is funded by the grant, which is part of a three-year project.
Lesley Drake | alfa
In living color: Brightly-colored bacteria could be used to 'grow' paints and coatings
20.02.2018 | University of Cambridge
Computers aid discovery of new, inexpensive material to make LEDs with high color quality
20.02.2018 | University of California - San Diego
For the first time, a team of researchers at the Max-Planck Institute (MPI) for Polymer Research in Mainz, Germany, has succeeded in making an integrated circuit (IC) from just a monolayer of a semiconducting polymer via a bottom-up, self-assembly approach.
In the self-assembly process, the semiconducting polymer arranges itself into an ordered monolayer in a transistor. The transistors are binary switches used...
Breakthrough provides a new concept of the design of molecular motors, sensors and electricity generators at nanoscale
Researchers from the Institute of Organic Chemistry and Biochemistry of the CAS (IOCB Prague), Institute of Physics of the CAS (IP CAS) and Palacký University...
For photographers and scientists, lenses are lifesavers. They reflect and refract light, making possible the imaging systems that drive discovery through the microscope and preserve history through cameras.
But today's glass-based lenses are bulky and resist miniaturization. Next-generation technologies, such as ultrathin cameras or tiny microscopes, require...
Scientists from the University of Zurich have succeeded for the first time in tracking individual stem cells and their neuronal progeny over months within the intact adult brain. This study sheds light on how new neurons are produced throughout life.
The generation of new nerve cells was once thought to taper off at the end of embryonic development. However, recent research has shown that the adult brain...
Theoretical physicists propose to use negative interference to control heat flow in quantum devices. Study published in Physical Review Letters
Quantum computer parts are sensitive and need to be cooled to very low temperatures. Their tiny size makes them particularly susceptible to a temperature...
15.02.2018 | Event News
13.02.2018 | Event News
12.02.2018 | Event News
20.02.2018 | Power and Electrical Engineering
20.02.2018 | Materials Sciences
20.02.2018 | Life Sciences