"Bile acids have been discussed extensively for many years, but only recently have bile acid physiology and alterations in bile acid metabolism been applied to clinical medicine."
These are the comments of William F. Balistreri, MD, associate professor of pediatrics at Children's Hospital Medical Center in Cincinnati. The impetus for change, he explains, has been the development of practical and accurate radioimmunoassays (RIAs) for measuring plasma levels of bile acids.
Balistreri spoke recently at a Chicago meeting on the clinical significance of serum bile acid measurements sponsored by Michael Reese Hospital and Medical Center.
"Until recently, we have not really had a good test of ileal function," he explained, adding that with the RIA for cholic acid it is possible to process as many as 200 blood samples in an eight-hour day.
Since the first RIAs for bile acids were introduced in 1973, there have been further refinements, notably the