Magdy El-Salhy is Professor of Gastroenterology and Hepatology at Bergen University, and consultant gastroenterologist at Stord Hospital, Norway. He is a member of the Editorial Boards of 8 international journals, and is associated editor-in chief of World Journal of Gastroenterology. He authored 173 publications in international journals of them 138 are original papers and 35 invited book chapters, reviews and books. His work has received 3153 citations. In 2013, two of his highly cited papers are in the top 1% of world publications. His research field for the last 40 years has been the neuroendocrine system of the gut, from basic science to clinical applications. He has studied the phylogeny and ontogeny of the gut neuroendocrine peptides and was among the researchers that for the first time demonstrate that the gut neuroendocrine signal substances occur in the central nervous system. He was the first to describe the distribution of polypeptide YY in human's gastrointestinal tract and its phylogeny and ontogeny. Following his observation that colorectal serotonin, somatostatin and galanin were reduced in patients with colorectal cancer, he has conducted a large number of studies using this so-called ‘Triple therapy’ in the treatment of colorectal cancer. In the last 10 years he has been engaged in research concerning irritable bowel syndrome (IBS). He has declared that the IBS is an organic disorder with a clear anatomic defect, namely the endocrine cells of the gut.
To date, the diagnosis of IBS in clinical practice has been achieved through a diagnosis of exclusion. Attempts have been made to achieve a positive diagnosis based on symptoms assessment such as the Rome III criteria. However, symptom-based diagnosis is not widely used in everyday clinical practice. Searches for biomarkers for the diagnosis of IBS that reflect pathological states such as disrupted motility and visceral hypersensitivity have not yielded any useful candidates. The duodenal Chromogranin A cell density, which reflects the presence of structural lesions in the duodenal endocrine cells of IBS patients, seems to be a good biomarker for the diagnosis of IBS. The test for this biomarker has good sensitivity and specificity (86% and 95%, respectively), it is simple, inexpensive, and easy to perform, and does not require sophisticated equipment or considerable experience.