Insights about human gut-brain connection: Study | Health - Hindustan Times

Insights about human gut-brain connection: Study

ANI | | Posted by Rana Pratap Singh, Washington
Jun 15, 2023 08:37 AM IST

The study explores the mysterious gut-brain connection - a complex relationship that is also difficult to access due to the body's interior.

A groundbreaking study led by researchers at the Laureate Institute for Brain Research has made significant progress in understanding the mysterious gut-brain connection, a complex relationship that has long perplexed scientists due to the difficulty of accessing the body's interior.

Insights about human gut-brain connection: Study(Shutterstock)
Insights about human gut-brain connection: Study(Shutterstock)

The study was published in the peer-reviewed scientific journal 'Nature Communications.'

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The researchers successfully had participants swallow a minimally invasive vibrating capsule to measure neural responses during gastrointestinal stimulation, providing a novel approach to studying this intricate connection. Vibrant Ltd created the capsule. The study included healthy adult male and female volunteers ranging in age from 18 to 40. The volunteers detected the stimulation of the vibrating capsule under two conditions, according to the researchers: normal and enhanced. The improved stimulation condition resulted in improved perceptual accuracy, faster stimulation detection, and reduced variability in reaction time, indicating the potential for studying this method in different clinical populations. This is a significant breakthrough because it demonstrates the viability of this novel approach to studying gut feelings.

The researchers also discovered the "gastric evoked potential," a late neural response in specific brain areas induced by capsule stimulation. The amplitude of these neural responses increased with the intensity of the stimulation and was significantly correlated with perceptual accuracy. This discovery opens up new avenues for measuring and comprehending the neural processes that govern the gut-brain connection.

"We were able to localize most of the capsule stimulations to the gastroduodenal segments of the digestive tract using abdominal X-ray imaging," said Dr Sahib Khalsa, a psychiatrist and neuroscientist at LIBR, and senior author of the study. "This finding is crucial as it provides a more precise understanding of where these gut-brain interactions are originating."

"The potential clinical implications for the results of this study are substantial," said Dr Khalsa. "The vibrating capsule method could transform the clinical approach to disorders of gut-brain interaction, including eating disorders and certain gastrointestinal disorders such as irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) or functional dyspepsia."

Dr. Khalsa continued. “This would provide a much-needed tool for assessing gut sensation in these conditions and could lead to more personalized and effective treatment strategies. It also opens up the possibility of identifying perceptual or biological mediators of successful treatment, which could serve as predictive markers for future therapeutic interventions.”

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