Improving Gut Function in Hirschsprung's Disease

Posted 13 Dec 2019

Flinders University researchers will trial a new technique involving electrical stimulation of the colon in a bid to improve gut function for people with Hirschsprung’s Disease.

Hirschsprung’s Disease is a condition present at birth as a result of missing nerve cells in the muscles of a baby’s colon and causes problems with passing stool. It’s the most common cause of neonatal intestinal obstruction.

Current treatment can involve surgical resection, but this procedure rarely results in normal gut function and many patients suffer persistent symptoms including severe constipation, incontinence and enterocolitis for the remainder of their life.

Professor Nick Spencer will use a Flinders Foundation Health Seed Grant to trial new methods to improve the health and well-being of many patients suffering from Hirschsprung’s Disease and other gut motility disorders.

He’ll seek to understand how the loss of enteric neurons leads to gut dysmotility and trial a technique where electrical stimuli is applied to the colon to see if it can improve transit through the colon.

Our work has great potential to improve the health and wellbeing of many patients suffering from a variety of gut motility disorders.

Project title: Improving Gut Function in Hirschsprung's Disease.

Lead researcher: Professor Nick Spencer


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