VIENNA, October 18, 2016 /PRNewswire/ --
Scientists at UEG Week have today announced that faecal bacterial profiles differ in irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) patients who respond favourably to a low-FODMAP diet and those who do not. This will allow doctors to predict which patients will benefit from following the diet, rather than asking patients to trial the challenging diet plan.
A low-FODMAP diet is now an established treatment for people with IBS, but the diet is controversial and difficult to follow, and not all IBS sufferers have a positive response to the intervention.
Presenting the findings for the first time at the Opening Plenary session of UEG Week 2016, Dr Sean Bennet told delegates that, in the right people, a low-FODMAP diet can be highly effective, but identifying those individuals is currently impossible. "A low-FODMAP diet has been shown in a recent clinical trial to significantly reduce the symptoms of IBS in around half the people who have tried it" he explained. "Unfortunately, this is a very demanding diet that requires the exclusion of entire food groups, so we have been looking at ways to predict who will gain the greatest benefit from trying it."
The study involved an analysis of data from 61 patients with moderately severe or severe IBS symptoms who took part in a previous clinical trial. In that trial, patients followed a 'traditional' or low-FODMAP diet plan for 4 weeks, with faecal samples collected before and after the dietary interventions.
Bacterial profiling of the samples found differences in the impact of each diet on the gut bacteria composition and also revealed that the faecal bacterial profiles differed between patients who responded to the low-FODMAP diet and those who did not.
"Patients who did not respond to the low-FODMAP diet were found to have more abnormalities in their gut bacterial profiles before they started the diet than those who responded favourably" said Dr Bennet. "Faecal bacterial profiling could therefore be undertaken before the dietary interventions are considered."
"Being able to predict if a patient is unlikely to respond to a low-FODMAP diet means that other therapies could be discussed much earlier, and these patients could be spared a demanding diet that might have no effect on, or even worsen, their symptoms."
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