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Researchers Create Key Diagnostic Measures for Gastrointestinal Disorders

With no laboratory test available to diagnose functional gastrointestinal disorders, proper diagnostic criteria are critical for clinicians to make an accurate determination of what ails their patients.

Several University of North Carolina School of Medicine researchers played a key role in crafting diagnostic criteria and patient questionnaires for the Rome Foundation, an international nonprofit aimed at improving the lives of the millions of people suffering from functional GI disorders (FGIDs), while developing and legitimizing the field of FGIDs through science and research.

William E. Whitehead, PhD, professor of medicine in the division of gastroenterology and hepatology and director of the UNC Center for Functional GI and Motility Disorders has served on the Rome Foundation Board since its inception.

Functional GI disorders don’t have a clear, organic cause, and cannot be caught on any lab test, Whitehead said.

If a person has a functional GI disorder, “the gut is healthy, but it functions differently,” said Miranda van Tilburg, PhD, an associate professor of medicine in the division of gastroenterology and hepatology, who contributed to the new diagnostic criteria. “We have to [diagnosis] based on symptoms…You could compare it to a [mental health diagnosis] in a way. For example, you cannot do a blood test for depression. You have to ask people questions and so we have to do the same thing for these disorders.”

As researchers have learned more about these disorders, it has been necessary to update the diagnostic tools available to clinicians.

“The diagnostic criteria for functional GI and some motility disorders have gone through four editions, so the one that’s just been released – Rome IV – is being published about 10 years after Rome III. It tries to incorporate the research that’s been done since that time,” Whitehead said… Read More>>

Source: Medical Xpress