A LEADING Sheffield doctor has received a top award for his research into a common bowel condition.
David Sanders, consultant gastroenterologist at the Royal Hallamshire Hospital and professor at Sheffield University, has been awarded the prestigious Cuthbertson Medal for his work on coeliac disease.
The Nutrition Society gives the award each year to young scientists for excellence in clinical research.
Prof Sanders, aged 43, who has been working in Sheffield since he arrived in the city as a junior doctor 18 years ago, received the medal for his extensive work on coeliac disease - a disorder of the small intestine caused by gluten.
He was the first doctor to highlight the link between common cases of irritable bowel syndrome and undetected coeliac disease.
His landmark study changed the way clinicians deal with patients complaining of bowel problems, leading the Government to issue new guidelines for mandatory testing for coeliac disease.
One per cent of British adults are affected by the disease, which causes chronic diarrhoea, fatigue and growth deficiency - and doctors estimate there are up to 5,000 undiagnosed cases in Sheffield.
The Coeliac Specialist clinic at the Hallamshire, where Prof Sanders works, is one the largest in the country, with more than 1,000 patients.
The professor, who was also named European Rising Star in Gastroenterology in 2010, said: “I’m truly honoured to be awarded this medal and I feel very fortunate.
“Coeliac disease is under-diagnosed and can have a serious and profound impact on people’s overall health and quality of life.
“The nutritional impacts of maintaining a gluten-free diet, or indeed of having undetected coeliac disease, are areas that need urgent research. With my colleagues I have been working hard to fill this gap.”