Physiological expertise and advanced methodsDue to the interdisciplinary strategy DGRI has expertise in fields spanning from medicine, biology, engineering, physics, and epidemiology. In medicine the expertise is primarily in gastroenterology, surgery, pharmacology and pathology. Our portfolio includes the following:
- New technology for diagnostics and treatment
- Evidence based epidemiological and prevention information associated with gastrointestinal disease.
- Advise on contexts of health policy, clinical applications, and strategic planning.
- Analysis of large amounts of biological and epidemiological data. We maintain advanced computer systems capable of managing large quantities of data and allowing sophisticated analyses.
DGRI is conducting a broad range of research projects with emphasis of understanding digestive physiology and gastrointestinal disease. All projects have an international dimension and the results are expected to impact on clinical and preventive practices. Projects may include sampling, analysis of molecular data, secondary analysis of existing data and tech-development. Projects may be funded by public and private sources including by DGRI itself. Public sources span from NIH funding, EU-FP6-7 funding and cofounding from involved universities. In all cases the sponsors have no influence in the planning, conduct, analysis or reporting of the projects. Selected examples of projects are:
- iAnalysis of gastrointestinal sphincter function. Sphincters are muscles with the function of dividing the gastrointestinal tract into functional compartments. Examples are the upper and lower oesophageal sphincters and the anal sphincter. Sphincters have an important function regulating normal function and prevention of reflux from one compartment to another. Incompetence of sphincters leads to reflux and incontinence. The studies aim at getting a thorough understanding of the mechanisms of sphincter strength and relaxation. Conventional methods such as endoscopy, manometry and pH-metry are used together with news technologies such as functional luminal imaging and ultrasonography. The overall aim is to create a computer model of sphincter function.
- Mechanosensory markers in diabetic neuropathy of the gut. The project is focused on analysing the pathophysiology of diabetic neuropathy and to determine better biomarkers of the complications and approaches for intervention. Due to lack of standardisation, there are no accepted biomarkers to evaluate the neuropathy and its involvement in the gastrointestinal tract. Diabetes mellitus (DM) is one of the most common endocrine disorders affecting almost 6% (app. 246 million people) worldwide. DM is a chronic disease requiring lifelong attention in order to limit the development of potentially devastating complications and to manage them if they occur. Gastrointestinal disorders are common and closely associated with autonomic neuropathy. Several studies addressed the visceral sensory function in DM and demonstrated abnormalities in perception thresholds, vagal tone and evoked brain potentials in patients with autonomic neuropathy. Thus, DM-related changes may be located in the enteric, the peripheral and in the CNS. Several clinical, neurophysiological and biochemical test for neuropathy have been proposed but they are not reliable and valid. This makes is crucial to develop better biomarkers for GI neuropathy and associated complications, to test the reliability and validity under controlled circumstances using advanced multimodal methods and to follow the biomarkers during new treatments.
Functional gastrointestinal diseases and he risk of cancer. Functional diseases as irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) as well as gastrointestinal cancer are frequent diseases. Little is known about the risk of cancer among patients with functional diseases. Accordingly the aim is to investigate the risk based on epidemiological analysis of data from relevant registries. The results are reassuring, for example a decreased risk of colorectal cancer in the period 1-10 years after an IBS diagnosis was found. The work on risk factors will be on-going for several years.