Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Premium car research & cow dung point to new high tech disease diagnosis

14.10.2009
Researchers at the University of Warwick have taken high tech gas sensors normally used to test components for premium cars and applied the same techniques to human blood, human urine, and even cow dung samples from local cow pats.

The results could lead to a new high tech medical tool that could provide a fast diagnosis for some of the most difficult gastrointestinal illnesses and metabolic diseases.

Fermentation of undigested foods in the colon by its resident bacteria affects not only colonic health (protection against inflammation and tumour formation) but also influences metabolic health. Studying fermentation and the volatile organic compounds (VOCs) it generates directly is difficult due to lack of easy access to the colon.

Researchers from the University of Warwick’s innovation specialists WMG have devised a solution to this problem using a special suite of equipment normally used to test car components for premium cars. The equipment heats car material samples to see what range of “volatile chemicals” (essentially gases) are emitted from car components to understand what implications that would have for air quality in the car and how it might affect the future recycling of the component. The car researchers wondered if this high tech equipment for studying volatile chemicals in premium cars would also assist their medical colleagues seeking to study volatile organic compounds from the human colon.

The University of Warwick WMG researchers Dr Mark Pharaoh and Dr Geraint J. Williams invited medical consultant Dr Ramesh P Arasaradnam (a Clinician Scientist and Lecturer in Gastroenterology in Warwick Medical School and a Gastroenterologist at University Hospitals Coventry & Warwick) to work with them to advise on how they could test their equipment on organic matter. Professors Sudesh Kumar, Chuka Nwokolo and K D Bardhan, from Warwick Medical School, also joined the team.

The gas products of fermentation include various volatile organic compounds, the relative proportions of which may change in disease. The research team have coined the term ‘fermentome’ to describe the complex interplay between diet, symbiont bacteria and volatile gases The clinical researchers in the team believed that the research engineer’s equipment could help them study such a ‘fermentome’ which could then be used for diagnosis and disease characterisation. Measurement of VOCs through non-invasive methods could then have an important application as a hypothesis-generating tool and could even have clinical applications.

The joint clinician and engineering research team have now performed tests using the car analysis equipment on human blood, human urine, and even cow and horse dung harvested from the local area. The results so far suggest that the equipment could indeed be used to obtain a useful picture of the range of fermentation gases produced by this organic matter. Knowing what those mix of gases are could therefore provide a useful analogue understanding of what gastrointestinal illness or metabolic diseases are afflicting patient.

The team have just published that research in a paper entitled “Colonic fermentation – More than meets the nose” in the journal Med Hypotheses. The research team are now exploring funding options that would allow them to take this new technique into a larger scale studies including clinical trials.

Dr Mark Pharaoh said:

“These early results suggest that we could indeed use this automotive technology to give medical consultants a very precise understanding of the mix of gases being produced within the human gut. An understanding of the precise mix of gases is a very valuable clue to understanding any problem with the balance and mix of bacteria that are generating those gases.”

Dr Ramesh P Arasaradnam said:

“This is could be a vital new tool in the diagnosis of gastrointestinal as well as metabolic diseases. Gaining first hand information of what is going on in the gut would require very invasive procedures. Even simply culturing the bacteria from a patient’s urine or faeces takes a considerable amount of time. This technique could give medical consultants such as myself valuable information about what is causing a patient’s condition long before the data from a standard bacterial culture would be available.”

The research team are now exploring funding options that would allow them to take this new technique into a clinical trial

Note for Editors:

The research paper just published in "Medical Hypotheses "- doi:10.1016/j.mehy.2009.04.027 is entitled : “Colonic fermentation – More than meets the nose”. The researchers are: Dr Mark Pharaoh and Dr Geraint J. Williams from the University of Warwick (WMG); Dr Ramesh P Arasaradnam, Professor Sudesh Kumar and Professor C.U. Nwokolo from Warwick Medical School and University Hospitals Coventry & Warwick; Prof K D Bardhan from Warwick Medical School, University of Warwick and Rotherham General Hospital.

For further information contact:

Dr Mark Pharaoh, University of Warwick, WMG
Tel: +44 (0)24 76 523941
m.w.pharaoh@warwick.ac.uk
Ramesh P Arasaradnam., Clinician Scientist and Lecturer in Gastroenterology
Warwick Medical School, University of Warwick, and University Hospitals Coventry & Warwick Tel: 02476 966087

E mail: r.arasaradnam@warwick.ac.uk

Peter Dunn, Head of Communications,

University of Warwick Tel: +44 (0)24 76 523708
or mobile/cell +44(0)7767 655860 email: p.j.dunn@warwick.ac.uk

Peter Dunn | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.warwick.ac.uk

More articles from Health and Medicine:

nachricht Electrical 'switch' in brain's capillary network monitors activity and controls blood flow
27.03.2017 | Larner College of Medicine at the University of Vermont

nachricht Laser activated gold pyramids could deliver drugs, DNA into cells without harm
24.03.2017 | Harvard John A. Paulson School of Engineering and Applied Sciences

All articles from Health and Medicine >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Giant Magnetic Fields in the Universe

Astronomers from Bonn and Tautenburg in Thuringia (Germany) used the 100-m radio telescope at Effelsberg to observe several galaxy clusters. At the edges of these large accumulations of dark matter, stellar systems (galaxies), hot gas, and charged particles, they found magnetic fields that are exceptionally ordered over distances of many million light years. This makes them the most extended magnetic fields in the universe known so far.

The results will be published on March 22 in the journal „Astronomy & Astrophysics“.

Galaxy clusters are the largest gravitationally bound structures in the universe. With a typical extent of about 10 million light years, i.e. 100 times the...

Im Focus: Tracing down linear ubiquitination

Researchers at the Goethe University Frankfurt, together with partners from the University of Tübingen in Germany and Queen Mary University as well as Francis Crick Institute from London (UK) have developed a novel technology to decipher the secret ubiquitin code.

Ubiquitin is a small protein that can be linked to other cellular proteins, thereby controlling and modulating their functions. The attachment occurs in many...

Im Focus: Perovskite edges can be tuned for optoelectronic performance

Layered 2D material improves efficiency for solar cells and LEDs

In the eternal search for next generation high-efficiency solar cells and LEDs, scientists at Los Alamos National Laboratory and their partners are creating...

Im Focus: Polymer-coated silicon nanosheets as alternative to graphene: A perfect team for nanoelectronics

Silicon nanosheets are thin, two-dimensional layers with exceptional optoelectronic properties very similar to those of graphene. Albeit, the nanosheets are less stable. Now researchers at the Technical University of Munich (TUM) have, for the first time ever, produced a composite material combining silicon nanosheets and a polymer that is both UV-resistant and easy to process. This brings the scientists a significant step closer to industrial applications like flexible displays and photosensors.

Silicon nanosheets are thin, two-dimensional layers with exceptional optoelectronic properties very similar to those of graphene. Albeit, the nanosheets are...

Im Focus: Researchers Imitate Molecular Crowding in Cells

Enzymes behave differently in a test tube compared with the molecular scrum of a living cell. Chemists from the University of Basel have now been able to simulate these confined natural conditions in artificial vesicles for the first time. As reported in the academic journal Small, the results are offering better insight into the development of nanoreactors and artificial organelles.

Enzymes behave differently in a test tube compared with the molecular scrum of a living cell. Chemists from the University of Basel have now been able to...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

International Land Use Symposium ILUS 2017: Call for Abstracts and Registration open

20.03.2017 | Event News

CONNECT 2017: International congress on connective tissue

14.03.2017 | Event News

ICTM Conference: Turbine Construction between Big Data and Additive Manufacturing

07.03.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Electrical 'switch' in brain's capillary network monitors activity and controls blood flow

27.03.2017 | Health and Medicine

Clock stars: Astrocytes keep time for brain, behavior

27.03.2017 | Life Sciences

Sun's impact on climate change quantified for first time

27.03.2017 | Earth Sciences

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>