Intestinal gas can help diagnose diseases

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Melbourne, March 13 (IANS) Throwing fresh insight on how microbes affect our health, a new study reveals that gut microbes in human body produce gases that may contribute to gastrointestinal diseases and could be used as biomarkers for one’s state of health.

Microbes in our body are estimated to outnumber human cells by 10 to 1, still research on how they affect health is still in its infancy.

“The human gut’s effect on gastrointestinal diseases consumes a significant portion of health care expenditure every year worldwide,” said Kourosh Kalantar-zadeh, professor of electrical and computer engineering at RMIT University, Melbourne and senior author.

To measure these potential biomarkers, researchers suggest two novel gas-sensing systems, one of which is an electronic gas sensor in the form of a pill you can swallow.

These systems may offer a reliable way to understand the impact of intestinal gases on human health.

This may also pave the way for the development of new diagnostic techniques and therapies.

“Innovative point-of-care methodologies for assessing gut state and diagnosing relevant diseases will bring unprecedented benefits to the general public by providing medical and diagnostic devices that significantly reduce medical costs and improve the efficiency of the health care system,” Kalantar-zadeh pointed out.

In-vitro fermentation systems and swallowable gas capsules represent promising alternatives, showed the authors.

A more direct and accurate approach involves the use of encapsulated gas sensors that can be swallowed and sample gases while inside the intestine.

“Because both techniques are noninvasive, they have the potential to significantly impact relevant medical industries and public health sectors, facilitating the formulation of point-of-care methodologies for diagnostics and potentially new diet- or drug-based therapies for gastrointestinal diseases,” Kalantar-zadeh concluded.

The study appeared in the journal Cell Press.

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