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Each month we will be showing the very best IBS related article from the internet clips from You Tube.  Whilst some may contradict with some of the work on the site, it is all valuable and may have specific relevance to your own situation.

Irritable bowel syndrome in the brain

IBS patients' brains on high alert, with less control of emotion and pain

By Daniel J. DeNoon

WebMD Health News

Medically Reviewed by Dr Roger Henderson

23rd July 2010 - Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) may be in the brain, not in the mind.

IBS patients tend to suffer anxiety and depression, but they tire of being told their symptoms of diarrhoea, constipation and/or pain are all in their minds.

Now there's evidence that their underlying problem may be due to the structure of their brains, says Dr Emeran Mayer, professor of medicine, physiology and psychiatry at the University of California.

"Discovering structural changes in the brain ... demonstrates an 'organic' component to IBS and supports the concept of a brain-gut disorder," Mayer says in a news release. "The finding removes the idea once and for all that IBS symptoms are not real and are 'only psychological’. The findings will give us more insight into better understanding IBS."

Dr Mayer, Dr David Seminowicz, and colleagues at UCLA and Canada's McGill University used sophisticated scans to compare the brain anatomy of 55 women with moderate IBS to 48 age-matched healthy women.

The finding: Thinning grey matter - the part of the brain rich in neurons - in specific areas of the brain. The affected areas involve:

Dampening the brain's arousal system. IBS patients tend to be over-sensitive to (and hypervigilant for) bowel sensations.

Controlling emotion. Symptom-related worries and ineffective coping strategies play an important role in chronic pain syndromes.

Controlling pain. Brain thinning in this region was seen only in patients who listed pain as their most bothersome IBS symptom.

Importantly, brain areas linked to anxiety and depression were no different in IBS patients than in anxious or depressed people without IBS.

The findings, Seminowicz and colleagues suggest, point to a difference between IBS and chronic pain syndromes such as fibromyalgia.

In chronic pain syndromes, nerves constantly send increased pain signals to the brain. However, in IBS, the brain itself seems to be amplifying pain signals it receives from the bowel.

The researchers say future studies should look at family members of IBS patients, to see if they inherited the same brain anatomy that may increase a person's risk of IBS. If so, the studies may reveal genetic components of IBS and point the way to new treatments.

The study appears in the July issue of the journal Gastroenterology.


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