Digestive problems in early life may increase risk for depression

Findings of a study carried out on laboratory rats at the Stanford University School of Medicine suggest that some human psychological conditions may be the result of short-term gastrointestinal disorders.

Past research has looked at neurological disorders being the cause of gastrointestinal disorders, but this study investigated whether the cause might not be the other way around in some cases. Dyspepsia was introduced in baby male rats, and at 8-10 weeks old they were given a series of tests to determine their behaviour. These tests revealed that the rats with dyspepsia displayed anxiety and depression like symptoms where the control rats did not.

The scientists conclude that gastric irritation in the period after birth can induce a long lasting increase in depression and anxiety-like disorders, plus an increased sensitivity to stress.

Source: PLoS ONE

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First Published in May 2011

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