The research was presented at Digestive Disease Week® (DDW)
‘Scientists have discovered a less invasive way to diagnose irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), a chronic gut condition. Using Artificial Intelligence or AI, it now seems possible to detect IBS by simply listening to the sounds the stomach makes as food passes through the body.’
uses the idea of building
machines that are capable of thinking like humans. It is the broader concept of
teaching machines to be able to carry out "smart" human-like tasks.
Machine Learning (ML)
is by far the most promising and successful approach to AI, where humans give
machines access to data and let them learn for themselves.
In the current study, the acoustic belt is the device or
machine that has been programmed to distinguish between different kinds of gut
noises using AI so as to be able to diagnose IBS.
IBS is a common and often painful condition; it is estimated
that more than 10 percent of the world's population is affected by some form of
IBS. This translates to more than 700 million people. However, diagnosis of IBS is difficult and often
requires invasive technologies like a colonoscopy
. Many people live with
the disease for a long time before getting help. In many patients, IBS even goes undiagnosed and,
Scientists have now
used AI to create a new way to diagnose and detect IBS.
that was originally created to track the munching sounds of termites,
researchers have created an acoustic belt to translate the rumblings and
grumblings of the gut into meaningful noises.
Study DesignResearchers developed
a basic prototype belt based on machine learning techniques
. The belt could
identify complex features and patterns of the sounds collected from within the
The chosen study participants either had an existing clinical
diagnosis of IBS or healthy digestive systems. They were asked to wear the
belt. Researchers recorded their bowel
sounds for two hours post-fasting, and then for 40 minutes after a standardized
Preliminary Study Results
An IBS acoustic index model was built using the healthy and
IBS patients. The acoustic index output of the belt predicted IBS with high
accuracy thus differentiating between IBS patients and healthy individuals.
A statistical method used with the first data set of first 31
IBS and 37 healthy participants yielded 90 percent sensitivity and 92 percent
specificity for IBS diagnosis.
An independent testing method used with the next data set of
15 IBS and 15 healthy subjects revealed 87 percent sensitivity and 87 percent
specificity for IBS diagnosis.
"This study allowed us to achieve proof of concept. Once
we further develop the belt and test it on more patients, this tool will be
intended for use in primary care settings for the diagnosis of IBS," said
Josephine Muir, PhD, associate director of the Marshall Centre at the
University of Western Australia. "The
hope is that this new technology can offer a less- invasive way to diagnose
this painful, and sometimes debilitating, condition
Bowel Syndrome (IBS) IBS is a gastrointestinal (GI)
disorder that is characterized by repeated abdominal pain and changes
in bowel movements
, which may be diarrhea, constipation, or both depending
on the kind of IBS present.
Problems in brain-gut interactions
that affect how the body works could be the cause of functional GI disorders
like IBS. Stress, certain mental disorders, bacterial infections
intolerances appear to be common factors present in individuals with IBS.
Diagnosis is usually initiated with
the doctor reviewing your symptoms, getting a detailed medical and family
history (including other digestive disorders present), and conducting a
physical examination, followed by blood and stool tests. Other invasive tests
like upper GI endoscopy and colonoscopy may be done to eliminate health
conditions that have similar symptoms as IBS.
- Digestive Disease Week. "Listening to gut noises could improve diagnosis of irritable bowel syndrome: Acoustic technology for listening to termites may offer less-invasive method to diagnose IBS." (2018) ScienceDaily.
- Definition & Facts for Irritable Bowel Syndrome -(https://www.niddk.nih.gov/health-information/digestive-diseases/irritable-bowel-syndrome/definition-facts)