A WA doctor is investigating if a common and painful gut problem could be traced back to childhood factors such as birth weight, diet and even temperament as a toddler.
Fiona Stanley Hospital consultant gastroenterologist Oyekoya Ayonrinde has been awarded a grant to delve into the origins of irritable bowel syndrome, the most common gastrointestinal complaint dealt with by GPs.
He is one of four WA Health clinicians awarded a Health Department and Raine Foundation clinician research fellowship this week.
While IBS usually occurs in teenagers or adults, Dr Ayonrinde believes the condition may originate in the patient’s early years.
The condition is thought to affect 10 to 15 per cent of people and symptoms include abdominal pain, bloating, diarrhoea and constipation.
Dr Ayonrinde will use data from WA’s long-running Raine Study to look for links with medication use, infant nutrition, stressful life situations, medical diagnoses and behavioural disturbances.
He hopes it could reduce the need for endoscopic procedures which are frequently used to rule out more serious gastrointestinal conditions such as inflammatory bowel disease and cancer.
Other grant recipients include Princess Margaret Hospital paediatrician Andrew Martin, who is looking at screening children for an inherited cholesterol disorder.
Fiona Stanley Hospital anaesthetist Warren Pavey will study how to use “supercooling” to store donor hearts for longer.