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New Blood Test Identifies Irritable Bowel Syndrome

Antibody test differentiates IBS from inflammatory bowel disease (October 16)

A simple blood test may be the best way to determine whether a patient has irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) or another serious gastrointestinal condition, such as inflammatory bowel disease (IBD), according to a new study from Cedars-Sinai Medical Center.

Researchers developed a test for antibodies that form against a particular protein, vinculin, found in the gut of patients, many of whom had acute gastroenteritis at some point.

“This is a major breakthrough. It is the first test with a high specificity for IBS, likely based on a pathological mechanism of the disease,” said lead author Mark Pimentel, MD.

The results were presented this week at the American College of Gastroenterology’s 78th Annual Scientific Meeting in San Diego, California.

A total of 221 patients were evaluated in the study. Some of the patients were diagnosed with IBS; some had IBD; and some were healthy, with no symptoms. Anti-vinculin antibodies were found to be significantly increased in IBS patients compared with those with IBD or individuals who were healthy.

“Until this study, there had been no accurate biomarkers identified specifically for IBS. The new blood test has the potential to distinguish IBS from IBD and to reduce the need for unnecessary testing, expense, and years of suffering,” Pimentel said.

Source: Medical Xpress; October 16, 2013.

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