Establishing volumetric biomarkers in MRI of the digestive tract

Pritchard, Susan Elizabeth (2015) Establishing volumetric biomarkers in MRI of the digestive tract. PhD thesis, University of Nottingham.

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This extended abstract describes the background to the 14 research papers that the author, as staff candidate, is submitting for the award of PhD by published works. The core part of this work refers to the development of volumetric biomarkers within the human digestive tract using magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) and their application to answer novel biomedical research questions. In particular the author’s work has focussed on applying these techniques within the human colon and the first two papers (which detail this work) were led and written by the author. This work was pioneering in its field, the first time that physiologically undisturbed colon volumes were measured in healthy human subjects and in patients suffering from irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) and provided novel insights into the post-prandial symptoms experienced. Subsequently the effect of an experimental stress on this post prandial response was evaluated in healthy subjects, also the first time such an effect had been measured. The third paper, also written by the author, describes her work on the first clinical application of similar volumetric techniques to assess the human nasal airways and their response to pharmacological intervention, in this case the efficacy of a nasal decongestant.

This document seeks to set the gastro-intestinal papers within their scientific and physiological background and to show their original contribution to the current understanding of the physiological processes within the human gastro-intestinal tract.

Between mouth and anus, a complex myriad of mechanical, chemical and biological procedures interact to liquefy and transport food; to break it down into increasingly simpler chemical forms; absorb nutrients and then eject what is no longer required. MRI provides a unique window into the functions and form of this environment at the macroscopic level; a non-invasive tool for detecting and measuring the structure and physical movements of the abdominal organs and their contents, monitoring fluid transport and providing insights into the biological processing therein. This can provide quantitative biomarkers to rigorously assess the normal undisturbed physiology in health and disease and the effect of pharmacological interventions. It is a hitherto relatively unexplored area and it is the development and application of such measurements that form the bulk of the author’s research contained within the presented publications.

Item Type: Thesis (University of Nottingham only) (PhD)
Supervisors: Merrifield, M.R.
Subjects: Q Science > QC Physics > QC501 Electricity and magnetism
R Medicine > RC Internal medicine
Faculties/Schools: UK Campuses > Faculty of Science > School of Physics and Astronomy
Item ID: 30527
Depositing User: Pritchard, Susan
Date Deposited: 04 Apr 2016 13:57
Last Modified: 09 Jun 2018 18:02

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