October 30, 2015

Can changes in the brain affect your microbiome? UB researchers are investigating

Study of patients with irritable bowel syndrome undergoing behavioral
self-management may strengthen understanding of brain-gut connections

(October 30, 2015)  The microbiome in your gut can affect your brain: More and more data have recently shown that. But can it go the other way? Can brain changes affect your gut microbiome? And if so, do these changes affect your health and well-being?

A University at Buffalo researcher is leading a pilot study to answer that question. The goal is to determine whether behavioral self-management of a painful and common gastrointestinal disorder may lead to fundamental changes in the gut microbiome, the digestive system’s bacterial ecosystem.

The study is being conducted with a subset of patients enrolled in a large, National Institutes of Health-funded study being led by Jeffrey Lackner, PsyD, professor in the Department of Medicine in the Jacobs School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences at the University at Buffalo and director of the Behavioral Medicine Clinic. That multicenter study focuses on whether a specific, non-drug treatment — a cognitive behavior therapy program — can relieve the often-debilitating symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) for which there is no satisfactory medical treatment.

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