A new kind of endoscope which can aid in the early diagnosis of inflammatory bowel disease has been developed by researchers at the University of East Anglia, UK.

The Confocal Laser Endomicroscope (CLE) consists of a powerful microscope and allows the clinicians to view the bacteria which are considered to trigger diseases of the bowel such as Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis.

The endoscope uses a flourescent dye to highlight the bacteria, which allows the exact processes to be viewed at a sub-cellular level during routine colonoscopy.

The study, which has been funded the Wellcome Trust, also found that among the 163 patients studied, those with Crohn’s disease or ulcerative colitis were more likely to have bacteria within the wall of their gut than those with healthy intestines.