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
Mass spectrometry sheds new light on thallium poisoning cold case
14.12.2018 | University of Maryland
Protein involved in nematode stress response identified
14.12.2018 | University of Illinois College of Agricultural, Consumer and Environmental Sciences
The more objects we make "smart," from watches to entire buildings, the greater the need for these devices to store and retrieve massive amounts of data quickly without consuming too much power.
Millions of new memory cells could be part of a computer chip and provide that speed and energy savings, thanks to the discovery of a previously unobserved...
What if, instead of turning up the thermostat, you could warm up with high-tech, flexible patches sewn into your clothes - while significantly reducing your...
A widely used diabetes medication combined with an antihypertensive drug specifically inhibits tumor growth – this was discovered by researchers from the University of Basel’s Biozentrum two years ago. In a follow-up study, recently published in “Cell Reports”, the scientists report that this drug cocktail induces cancer cell death by switching off their energy supply.
The widely used anti-diabetes drug metformin not only reduces blood sugar but also has an anti-cancer effect. However, the metformin dose commonly used in the...
A research team from the University of Zurich has developed a new drone that can retract its propeller arms in flight and make itself small to fit through narrow gaps and holes. This is particularly useful when searching for victims of natural disasters.
Inspecting a damaged building after an earthquake or during a fire is exactly the kind of job that human rescuers would like drones to do for them. A flying...
Over the last decade, there has been much excitement about the discovery, recognised by the Nobel Prize in Physics only two years ago, that there are two types...
12.12.2018 | Event News
10.12.2018 | Event News
06.12.2018 | Event News
14.12.2018 | Power and Electrical Engineering
14.12.2018 | Physics and Astronomy
14.12.2018 | Physics and Astronomy