Groundbreaking research in the area where medicine and diet meet has lead to relief for those suffering from chronic abdominal pain.
In the world of modern medicine, diet isn’t usually considered a holistic treatment for disease. But what happens when medications don’t work?
That’s the case for Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS), a condition we don’t yet know much about that causes abdominal pain, bloating and discomfort with little to no relief from current medications.
“IBS was a common problem seen by doctors in the clinic. About one in seven adults are affected,” says Dr Jane Muir, head of translational nutrition science in the Department of Gastroenterology at Monash University.
Jane and her team pioneered the FODMAP diet by identifying that certain carbohydrates triggered symptoms. They’ve mapped out a guide to all fruits, vegetables, grains and dairy in their groundbreaking app that helps people to know which foods to avoid (after they’ve consulted with a doctor and dietitian, of course).
“We had this database of information and we needed a way of getting it out there to patients. We’d produce booklets, but they’d go out of date as soon as you print them!” says Jane.
“Our research is always growing and always changing, so digital technology is the perfect solution.” Everyone seems to agree – the app is the number one medical app on the App Store in Australia and is on numerous top five medical app charts around the world.
“As a researcher, you might do amazing scientific things, but often you won’t see how it’s affecting people.” says Jane. With the download charts, Jane and the team can see exactly how many people the FODMAP diet is helping every day.
With every new discovery made in the lab, their in-house software developer is able to update their findings, bringing the latest developments straight to the smartphones of patients. The future of wellbeing is tailored health information, brought to you by certified institutions straight to the palm of your hand. Better yet? All the money spent on the app goes straight back into Monash University’s research.
– Eliza Brockwell
Author: Eliza Brockwell
Eliza is the Digital Producer for Careers with STEM. Eliza is passionate about creating content that encourages diversity of representation in STEM.