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A recent study from the University of Copenhagen has identified a medical approach that could significantly improve the diagnosis and treatment of chronic diarrhea, a condition affecting a significant number of Danes due to bile acid malabsorption. This condition leads to frequent and abrupt episodes of diarrhea throughout the day.

Bile acid underdiagnosed among Danes

Many individuals experiencing persistent diarrhea are often unaware of their condition known as bile acid diarrhea, including its underlying causes. This issue stems from limited awareness within the medical community and the rather intricate, costly, and challenging diagnostic procedures for this ailment. Professor Filip Krag Knog highlights these factors as contributing to the lack of understanding surrounding the condition.

According to researchers, as an alternative to depending on radiation-derived radiopharmaceuticals, their technique entails the assessment of metabolites within an uncomplicated blood sample. Through the scrutiny of the unique metabolite arrangement associated with bile acid diarrhea, medical professionals can precisely identify the ailment.

The research not only made progress in diagnostics but also revealed optimal treatments for patients. By categorizing patients into two groups based on their blood sample metabolites, a randomized clinical study identified distinct treatment benefits. One group showed positive outcomes with the traditional colesevelam bile acid sequestrant, while the other responded well to liraglutide, a medication used for Type 2 diabetes and severe overweight.

Individuals responded differently to colesevelam and liraglutude

Biotech Research & Innovation Centre’s Professor Jesper Boje Andersen said that it is interesting to observe how metabolites in the patient’s blood divided them into two with one responding o liraglutude and the other to colesevelam. Therefore it is possible to say which treatment is effective in analysing patient’s blood during diagnosis.

The clinical study revealed that colesevelam improved symptoms for 50% of patients and liraglutide for 77%. The researchers believe this study will particularly help with bile acid diarrhea, a condition often undiagnosed or diagnosed late.

Chronic diarrhea is a stigmatized illness, with approximately 40% of patients enduring it for up to five years before receiving a diagnosis due to a lack of awareness about the condition and its treatability.