Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Premium Car Research And Cow Dung Point To New High Tech Disease Diagnosis

Date:
October 14, 2009
Source:
University of Warwick
Summary:
Researchers 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.

Cows. Research 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.
Credit: Image courtesy of University of Warwick

Research 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 locality. 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 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 gasses being produced within the human gut. An understanding of the precise mix of gasses 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.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by University of Warwick. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Arasaradnam et al. Colonic fermentation - More than meets the nose. Medical Hypotheses, 2009; DOI: 10.1016/j.mehy.2009.04.027

Cite This Page:

University of Warwick. "Premium Car Research And Cow Dung Point To New High Tech Disease Diagnosis." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 14 October 2009. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/10/091012095701.htm>.
University of Warwick. (2009, October 14). Premium Car Research And Cow Dung Point To New High Tech Disease Diagnosis. ScienceDaily. Retrieved July 29, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/10/091012095701.htm
University of Warwick. "Premium Car Research And Cow Dung Point To New High Tech Disease Diagnosis." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/10/091012095701.htm (accessed July 29, 2014).

Share This




More Health & Medicine News

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Deadly Ebola Virus Threatens West Africa

Deadly Ebola Virus Threatens West Africa

AP (July 28, 2014) West African nations and international health organizations are working to contain the largest Ebola outbreak in history. It's one of the deadliest diseases known to man, but the CDC says it's unlikely to spread in the U.S. (July 28) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
$15B Deal on Vets' Health Care Reached

$15B Deal on Vets' Health Care Reached

AP (July 28, 2014) A bipartisan deal to improve veterans health care would authorize at least $15 billion in emergency spending to fix a veterans program scandalized by long patient wait times and falsified records. (July 28) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Two Americans Contract Ebola in Liberia

Two Americans Contract Ebola in Liberia

Reuters - US Online Video (July 28, 2014) Two American aid workers in Liberia test positive for Ebola while working to combat the deadliest outbreak of the virus ever. Linda So reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Traditional African Dishes Teach Healthy Eating

Traditional African Dishes Teach Healthy Eating

AP (July 28, 2014) Classes are being offered nationwide to encourage African Americans to learn about cooking fresh foods based on traditional African cuisine. The program is trying to combat obesity, heart disease and other ailments often linked to diet. (July 28) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins