For many years mental health professionals like myself have been aware of the “gut-brain axis” or GBA, which refers to the belief that prolonged psychological stress can create intestinal conditions that are experienced as similar to Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS). As the National Institutes of health puts it: “The gut-brain axis (GBA) consists of bidirectional communication between the central and the enteric nervous system, linking emotional and cognitive centers of the brain with peripheral intestinal functions.”

And so it is certainly interesting to see that researchers including Toshinori Yoshioka of Tokyo University of Science (TUS) have now published in Frontiers in Neuroscience (see on their findings using mice to understand the effects of prolonged psychological stress on intestinal conditions. 

As their authors point out, this study demonstrates for the first time using animals that certain type of psychological stress alone can cause IBS-like symptoms. 

I believe this could be a clear step towards a better understanding of the relationship between the gut and the brain and could indeed result in designing better treatments for IBS and perhaps even for stress-related conditions. We will continue to track this fascinating research!

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