Small Intestinal Transit and Motility

A collaboration with Dr Immanuel Bergman from the Safety in Mines Research Establishment in Sheffield led to the development of a simple device for measuring breath hydrogen, which we exploited for the measurement of small intestinal transit time. The combination of this with scintigraphic measurement of gastric emptying and radioopaque markers for colonic transit allowed us to track a single solid meal through the gastrointestinal tract in health and disease. Using this method we studied the effect of stress, diet, intestinal intubation, patterns of contraction and even rectal distension on intestinal transit; the relationship between transit and absorption and showed how disorders of transit related to symptom patterns in patients with Irritable Bowel Syndrome.

  1. Cann, P.A., Read, N.W., Brown, C., Hobson, N., Holdsworth, C.D. (1983) The Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) relationship of disorders in the transit of a single solid meal to symptom patterns. Gut 24: 405-411.
  2. Cann, P.A., Read, N.W., Cammack, I., Childs, H., Holden, S., Kashman, R., Longmore, I., Nix, S., Simms, N., Swallow, K., Weller, J. (1983) Psychological stress and the passage of a standard meal through the stomach and small intestine in man. Gut 24: 236-240.
  3. Read, N.W., Al-Janabi, M.N., Cann, P.A. (1984) Breath hydrogen and the pathogenesis of pneumatosis coli. Gut 25: 839-845.
  4. Read, N.W., Al Janabi, M.N., Bates, T.E., Barber, D.C. (1983) The effect of gastrointestinal intubation on the passage of a solid meal through the stomach and small intestine in humans. Gastroenterology 84: 1568-1572.
  5. Holgate, A.M., Read, N.W. (1983) The relationship between small bowel transit time and absorption of a solid meal: influence of metoclopramide, magnesium sulfate and lactulose. Dig. Dis. & Sci. 28: 812-819.
  6. Read, N.W., Al-Janabi, M.N., Barber, D.C. and Edwards, C.A. (1984) The relationship between post-prandial motor activity in the human small intestine and the gastrointestinal transit of food. Gastroenterology 86: 721-727.
  7. Youle, M.S., Read, N.W. (1985) The effect of painless rectal distension on gastrointestinal transit of a solid meal. Dig. Dis. Sci. 29: 902-906.
  8. Read, N.W., Bates, T.E., Al-Janabi, M.N. and Cann, P.A. (1985) The interpretation of the breath hydrogen profile after a solid meal containing unabsorbable carbohydrate. Gut 26: 834-842.
  9. Read, N.W., Al-Janabi, M.N., Holgate, A.M. and Barber, D.C. (1986) Simultaneous measurement of gastric emptying, small bowel residence and colonic filling of a solid meal by the use of the gamma camera. Gut 27: 300-308.