Nav: Home

Combination therapy advisable for bowel disorder IBS

May 15, 2019

The more abnormalities in intestinal and brain function that IBS sufferers have, the more severe their symptoms of this functional bowel disorder, and the more adversely their everyday life is affected. This is shown by a Sahlgrenska Academy study indicating that patients with IBS should get treatments for different abnormalities simultaneously, to improve both bowel function and signaling from the brain to the gut.

IBS (irritable bowel syndrome) is very common. Up to one out of ten adults in Sweden has this functional bowel disorder to some degree of severity. Diagnostic criteria for the IBS diagnosis include abdominal pain, constipation or diarrhea, and irregular bowel activity over a long period. The underlying causes are not entirely known, but abnormalities both locally in the intestines and in the central nervous system are thought to be implicated.

Currently, no available treatment cures IBS, but its symptoms can be alleviated. There are drugs that can improve intestinal function in various ways, and in some cases brain-directed therapy is also given.

"There are studies showing that hypnosis, cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) and antidepressants can all have an effect against IBS. The view of the gut and brain working together in IBS is beginning to be increasingly accepted, so many gastroenterology clinics are striving to work holistically, in multiprofessional teams, i to manage their IBS patients," says Professor Magnus Simren of Sahlgrenska Academy, University of Gothenburg, Sweden, who led the work on the new study.

The study, published in the journal Gastroenterology, comprised 400 people with IBS and also healthy controls. The scientists measured intestinal abnormalities relating to sensitivity and motility, and the study participants were asked to reply to a questionnaire to capture signs of abnormal functioning of the central nervous system.

"We investigated several abnormalities at various levels in the nerves that connect the intestines and the brain, which is known as the 'gut-brain axis.' The questionnaires used are established for demonstrating incidence of anxiety and depression, which in our study served as a marker for abnormal functioning in the central nervous system," says Magnus Simren.

The study shows that the people who had many different abnormalities considered to have a bearing on the symptoms of IBS, in both the gastrointestinal tract and the brain, were also those patients who reported the most severe symptoms and experienced the lowest quality of life. The association was linear: as the number of abnormalities rose, a gradual worsening in symptom severity was also observed.

"In the study, it's striking how the burden of disease increases successively the more abnormalities the patient has. This means that we must probably focus the treatment on several of these at the same time to get a better effect. So this implies that a combination of different treatments tackling factors in the gut and the brain can have a positive effect. But this hypothesis must be investigated in clinical trials first," Simren says.
-end-
The study was a collaboration among some of the world's leading IBS researchers, at Sweden's University of Gothenburg, Belgium's Catholic University of Leuven (KU Leuven), and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill in the U.S.

University of Gothenburg

Related Brain Articles:

Scientists predict the areas of the brain to stimulate transitions between different brain states
Using a computer model of the brain, Gustavo Deco, director of the Center for Brain and Cognition, and Josephine Cruzat, a member of his team, together with a group of international collaborators, have developed an innovative method published in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences on Sept.
BRAIN Initiative tool may transform how scientists study brain structure and function
Researchers have developed a high-tech support system that can keep a large mammalian brain from rapidly decomposing in the hours after death, enabling study of certain molecular and cellular functions.
Wiring diagram of the brain provides a clearer picture of brain scan data
In a study published today in the journal BRAIN, neuroscientists led by Michael D.
Blue Brain Project releases first-ever digital 3D brain cell atlas
The Blue Brain Cell Atlas is like ''going from hand-drawn maps to Google Earth'' -- providing previously unavailable information on major cell types, numbers and positions in all 737 brain regions.
Landmark study reveals no benefit to costly and risky brain cooling after brain injury
A landmark study, led by Monash University researchers, has definitively found that the practice of cooling the body and brain in patients who have recently received a severe traumatic brain injury, has no impact on the patient's long-term outcome.
Brain cells called astrocytes have unexpected role in brain 'plasticity'
Researchers from the Salk Institute have shown that astrocytes -- long-overlooked supportive cells in the brain -- help to enable the brain's plasticity, a new role for astrocytes that was not previously known.
Largest brain study of 62,454 scans identifies drivers of brain aging
In the largest known brain imaging study, scientists from Amen Clinics (Costa Mesa, CA), Google, John's Hopkins University, University of California, Los Angeles and the University of California, San Francisco evaluated 62,454 brain SPECT (single photon emission computed tomography) scans of more than 30,000 individuals from 9 months old to 105 years of age to investigate factors that accelerate brain aging.
Is whole-brain radiation still best for brain metastases from small-cell lung cancer?
University of Colorado Cancer Center study compares outcomes of 5,752 small-cell lung cancer patients who received whole-brain radiation therapy (WBRT) with those of 200 patients who received stereotactic radiosurgery (SRS), finding that the median overall survival was actually longer with SRS (10.8 months with SRS versus 7.1 months with WBRT).
Atlas of brain blood vessels provides fresh clues to brain diseases
Even though diseases of the brain vasculature are some of the most common causes of death in the West, knowledge of these blood vessels is limited.
Brain sciences researcher pinpoints brain circuit that triggers fear relapse
Steve Maren, the Claude H. Everett Jr. '47 Chair of Liberal Arts professor in the Department of Psychological and Brain Sciences at Texas A&M University, and his Emotion and Memory Systems Laboratory (EMSL) have made a breakthrough discovery in the process of fear relapse.
More Brain News and Brain Current Events

Best Science Podcasts 2019

We have hand picked the best science podcasts for 2019. Sit back and enjoy new science podcasts updated daily from your favorite science news services and scientists.
Now Playing: TED Radio Hour

Rethinking Anger
Anger is universal and complex: it can be quiet, festering, justified, vengeful, and destructive. This hour, TED speakers explore the many sides of anger, why we need it, and who's allowed to feel it. Guests include psychologists Ryan Martin and Russell Kolts, writer Soraya Chemaly, former talk radio host Lisa Fritsch, and business professor Dan Moshavi.
Now Playing: Science for the People

#538 Nobels and Astrophysics
This week we start with this year's physics Nobel Prize awarded to Jim Peebles, Michel Mayor, and Didier Queloz and finish with a discussion of the Nobel Prizes as a way to award and highlight important science. Are they still relevant? When science breakthroughs are built on the backs of hundreds -- and sometimes thousands -- of people's hard work, how do you pick just three to highlight? Join host Rachelle Saunders and astrophysicist, author, and science communicator Ethan Siegel for their chat about astrophysics and Nobel Prizes.