Kirsten Tillisch a doctor of medicine at the University of California in Los Angeles, along with her colleagues recently published the results of their meta-analysis on brain activity studies for patients with Irritable Bowel Syndrome. While reviewing these past studies they found that the brains of patients with Irritable Bowel Syndrome were more likely to experience activity in emotional arousal sectors(pregenual anterior cingulate cortex, amygdala) and endogenous pain modulation sector(midbrain cluster). The overall results of the analysis “support[s] a role for central nervous system dysregulation in IBS.”It is well known that the brain and the gut are extensively linked together via the nervous system & that Serotonin plays an important role in regulating the mood in the brain & also in regulating the gut. This analysis is another instance showing the interconnectedness of the gut and the brain. What causes this dysregulation seems to still be unclear, it would be interesting to know if the dysregulation started at birth or was acquired later on in life, perhaps from a virus or food poisoning.
Many people with Irritable Bowel Syndrome may be more susceptible to anxiety and moodiness, though it’s often suggested that the person had a predisposition to these issue or that they were reacting to their symptoms. This study would suggest otherwise, that instead the gut may be stimulating the brain to bring on excessive emotional or pain responses outside of the control the Irritable Bowel Syndrome patient. It will certainly be interesting to see continued studies done on the link between the brain & Irritable Bowel Syndrome.