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Bioelectrical Signals For The Diagnosis And Therapy Of Functional Gastrointestinal Disorders

Recep Avci, Kiara J.W. Miller, Niranchan Paskaranandavadivel, Leonard A. Bradshaw, Maggie-Lee Huckabee, Leo K. Cheng

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Coordinated contractions and motility patterns unique to each gastrointestinal organ facilitate the digestive process. These motor activities are coordinated by bioelectrical events, sensory and motor nerves, and hormones. The motility problems in the gastrointestinal tract known as functional gastrointestinal disorders (FGIDs) are generally caused by impaired neuromuscular activity and are highly prevalent. Their diagnosis is challenging as symptoms are often vague and difficult to localize. Therefore, the underlying pathophysiological factors remain unknown. However, there is an increasing level of research and clinical evidence suggesting a link between FGIDs and altered bioelectrical activity. In addition, electroceuticals (bioelectrical therapies to treat diseases) have recently gained significant interest. This paper gives an overview of bioelectrical signatures of gastrointestinal organs with normal and/or impaired motility patterns and bioelectrical therapies that have been developed for treating FGIDs. The existing research evidence suggests that bioelectrical activities could potentially help to identify the diverse etiologies of FGIDs and overcome the drawbacks of the current clinically adapted methods. Moreover, electroceuticals could potentially be effective in the treatment of FGIDs and replace the limited existing conventional therapies which often attempt to treat the symptoms rather than the underlying condition.