The Noisy Guts Project – New Prototype Testing
Functional gastrointestinal diseases, such as Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) are extremely common, affecting up to 20% of people in western countries.
IBS symptoms include pain, bloating and altered bowel habits. It can be debilitating, embarrassing, and have a huge impact on quality of life.
Current methods for diagnosing IBS typically include invasive tests, such as colonoscopy to exclude diseases such as Crohn’s and colitis. These tests are costly, uncomfortable and carry risks, and still do not provide a positive diagnosis for IBS.
The Noisy Guts Project is the brainchild of Nobel Laureate, Prof Barry Marshall. The team are developing an acoustic belt that records gut noises over time so doctors can accurately diagnose and monitor gut problems.
The belt will provide doctors with a new, accurate and non-invasive approach to IBS diagnosis.
Our belt will work similarly to the way in which an ECG monitors your heart rate. The end result is a safe, non-invasive tracking and diagnostic tool.
We had many fantastic volunteers help us with our first study using a very basic version of the belt, and our results were excellent. We were able to diagnose IBS with 87% accuracy. That success prompted us to move forward with the project and we have worked with product developers to produce more comfortable and robust sensors for the belt. Our aim now is to build and test diagnostic software adapted to these new improved sensors.
Is your rumbling tummy trying to tell us something?
We need volunteers from two groups: people with healthy guts and those with a diagnosis of IBS.
First, you will need to complete a quick online survey about your gut health so that we can work out if you are a suitable participant, and which group you fit into. We will then ring you to check on your symptoms. You will also need to let us check with your GP about your diagnosis.
Then we will be in touch to arrange a time for you to visit us at the Marshall Centre to wear the belt with the new sensors so that we can gather recordings.
You will need to fast overnight before you come in. We will record sounds for two hours, give you breakfast and then make recordings for another 40 minutes.
You will also need to use an online survey to record your digestive activities or symptoms. You can do this via a smartphone.
Whilst the recordings take place you can sit back and relax in one of our comfy armchairs and work at your laptop, surf the net or read a magazine.
We may then send you home to wear the belt for 24 hours, if you are happy to do so.
The belt is safe, and does not record voices. The study has been approved by UWA’s Human Research Ethics Committee.
- Professor Barry Marshall
- Dr Josephine Muir
- Mr Peter Du
- Dr Mary Webberley