New MRI Imaging Technique Brings IBS Treatment Closer to Reality

Scientists in London are exploring the use of MRI technology to assist in the treatment and diagnosis of Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS). IBS is a condition that causes serious inconvenience and discomfort to sufferers, and affects between 25 and 55 million people in the United States. Since the disease is often misdiagnosed, it’s difficult to determine how many suffer from IBS.

In three separate studies performed by scientists at The University of Nottingham, the researchers examined the effectiveness of using MRI technology to study the colon. Using MRIs to examine the colon comes with a number of unique advantages, including being able to image the bowel continuously without putting the patient at risk, which enables them to learn more about the inner workings of the gut.

The first study focused on people with accelerated transit, and found that the colon size was rather similar to those with normal transit. The second study measured the actual time it takes for contents to transit to the bowel, and the third study used colonic imaging technique to improve their understanding of the causes of IBS.

The study, which is published in the American Journal of Gastroenterology, also took fructose into consideration. Fructose, a sugar commonly found in fruit, is difficult to absorb and may negatively affect IBS patients.