Knowing the signs and symptoms of common digestive disorders can help people identify them and seek appropriate treatment. Purdue University researchers used magnetic resonance imaging to show, play by play, how sending an electrical impulse to the vagus nerve successfully corrects stomach complications. The technique paves the way for more precise treatment that medications and dietary changes have failed to achieve. Digestive disorders create a medical burden of billions of dollars each year.
An important indicator of a digestive disorder is the rate at which the stomach empties food, called “gastric emptying”, into the small intestine to absorb nutrients. Slow gastric emptying in gastroparesis disorder, for example, means that the stomach muscles aren't moving properly. Stimulating the vagus nerve would allow doctors to control how quickly the stomach empties, which would effectively cure gastroparesis. As part of the SPARC project, Purdue researchers proposed using magnetic resonance imaging on small animals to gain a better view of the effects of vagus nerve stimulation in the stomach.
Lu stimulated the vagus nerve to control the pyloric sphincter in rats, the valve that controls food leaving the stomach and entering the small intestine. He then created 3D reconstructions of magnetic resonance imaging over time. The images showed that the stimulation relaxed the pyloric sphincter and accelerated gastric emptying to correct the delay in emptying in case of gastroparesis or other types of gastrointestinal malfunction. The researchers plan to promote the technology to recover even more information on gastric physiology and to carry out their own tests of different treatments for gastric disorders.
The work was partially supported by SPARC (grant 1OT2TR00196) and Purdue University. Your privacy is very important to us. We won't share your information. Purdue University is a university that offers equal access and opportunity.
Digestive disorders encompass a variety of illnesses that range from mild to severe. Common digestive disorders include gastroesophageal reflux disease, cancer, irritable bowel syndrome, lactose intolerance, and hiatal hernia. Gastroparesis can interfere with normal digestion, causing nausea, vomiting, and abdominal pain. It can also cause problems with blood sugar levels and nutrition.
While there is no cure for gastroparesis, dietary changes, along with medications, may offer some relief. Digestive disorders are a group of conditions that occur when the digestive system doesn't work as it should.