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By Traci Pedersen Associate News Editor
Reviewed by John M. Grohol, Psy.D. on May 17, 2011


Short-term digestive problems in early life may lead to later depression and anxiety, according to researchers at Stanford University School of Medicine.  The results show that some gastrointestinal disorders, such as irritable bowel syndrome, may be the cause, rather than the result, of certain psychological conditions.


“A lot of research has focused on understanding how the mind can influence the body,” said lead author Pankaj Pasricha, M.D., professor and chief of gastroenterology and hepatology.


“But this study suggests that it can be the other way around. Gastric irritation during the first few days of life may reset the brain into a permanently depressed state.”


Researchers believe the effects may depend on when the irritation occurs during development as well as the genetic makeup of the affected person, since not all stomach problems lead to mental problems. In particular, it seems the viscera, or internal organs, are especially vulnerable early in development.


Pasricha, along with lead researcher Liansheng Liu, collaborated with investigators from the University of California-San Francisco and the University of Kansas on the study.


Approximately 15 to 20 percent of individuals have functional dyspepsia — a persistent or recurring pain in the upper abdomen.


Read in Full:

http://psychcentral.com/news/2011/05/17/digestive-irritation-in-early-life-tied-to-anxiety-depression/26238.html



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