Irritable Bowel Syndrome Linked to Brain Changes

Posted on July 24, 2010. Filed under: Health, Medical |


(Video)
Irritable Bowel Syndrome Linked to Brain Changes (Video) (July 23, 2010 – Insidermedicine)

While irritable bowel syndrome, or IBS, has largely been classified as a “functional” condition as opposed to being associated with organic pathology, new research published in the journal Gastroenterology suggests otherwise, as an analysis of the brains of these patients demonstrates structural changes in their brains.

Here are some important facts about irritable bowel syndrome:

– Patients with irritable bowel syndrome usually have abdominal pain, bloating, diarrhea or constipation. Blood or mucous in the stool is not a feature. If they are present inflammatory bowel diseases like Crohn’s or ulcerative colitis may be present.

– Any change in bowel habits should warrant medical attention as this could represent an inflammatory bowel condition or cancer.  If you notice blood in your stool you should tell your doctor.

– Your doctor may order a colonoscopy to look at the inside lining of your bowel if you have changes in bowel habits. This allows a specialist to search for inflamed areas or tumors. In patients with irritable bowel, no abnormal areas are detected.

Researchers from UCLA and McGill University hypothesized that IBS may be related to structural changes in the brain. To perform their study, they looked at brain images from 55 female IBS patient and compared them to images of 48 control subjects who did not have this condition. They found that the brains of those with IBS had more grey matter in certain areas, and less in others. Specifically, increased grey matter was seen in the prefrontal and parietal cortex and in the posterior insula. The posterior insula is known to play a role in central pain amplification and may serve to heighten pain signals in patients with IBS.

They were also able to show that other areas of the brain had less grey matter. Some of these areas are important in attention and pain suppression.

Today’s research is a step forward in showing that irritable bowel syndrome is a medical condition that is not “functional” but rather one that is rooted in changes in the area of the brain that are involved in how we interpret pain.

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Irritable Bowel Syndrome Linked to Brain Changes…

I found your entry interesting do I’ve added a Trackback to it on my weblog :)…


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