Optimising measurement of small and large bowel transit during MRI scanning and characterising IBS subtypes and their response to stress using MRI (Transit)

1st October 2011

Status: Ended


Team: Professor Robin Spiller.

Irritable bowel syndrome is a common disorder of the digestive system that reduces the quality of life of patients. There are 3 subtypes of IBS, those experiencing mostly diarrhoea (IBS-D), those experiencing mostly constipation (IBS-C) and there are those experiencing a mixture of the two (IBS-M). All IBS patients report symptoms of erratic bowel habits, pain and bloating. So far, there are very few effective treatments and quite often patients are dissatisfied with their treatment. The University of Nottingham has recently developed a unique magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) method to measure the amount of water within the small bowel. Using this method, we have previously shown that IBS-D patients had reduced small bowel water content associated with fast small bowel transit. We also showed a good correlation between anxiety and small bowel transit time which was assessed on the magnetic resonance (MR) images by the arrival of the bright head of a meal from the small bowel into the large bowel. We predict that since anxiety is a feature common to all IBS subtypes then fast small bowel transit is likely to be found in all subtypes of IBS and the difference in stool frequency and consistency is likely to reflect differences in large bowel function. We wish to test this by measuring both small and large bowel transit using MRI and compare it with the ‘conventional’ methods of a breath test to measure small bowel transit time and the use of x-ray to measure large bowel transit time. Therefore, the purpose of this trial is to optimise the measurement of small bowel and large bowel transit using healthy volunteers. Following from this, the best methods will be applied to patients with IBS of all subtypes, with the intention of providing a more objective test to help diagnose IBS and improve the uptake of new treatments.

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professor-robin-spiller Professor Robin Spiller Robin's main interest is in the pathophysiology of functional GI diseases, particularly focusing on the role of infection and inflammation and alterations in serotonin metabolism in the irritable bowel syndrome. He has twice edited the British Society of…
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