Researchers find possible genetic link between IBS symptoms and mental health disorders

A new study in Nature Genetics involved more than 50,000 people diagnosed with irritable bowel syndrome and uncovered a possible genetic link between IBS and mental health disorders.

The study looked at the overlap between susceptibility to IBS and mental health conditions. The UK and Australian research team found that the genetic make-up implicated in heightening the risk of IBS also raises the chances for common mental health problems, including neuroticism, anxiety, and depression.

“Identifying susceptibility genes could highlight the underlying pathophysiological mechanisms,” the study’s authors asserted in their Nature report. “We designed a digestive health questionnaire for UK Biobank and combined identified cases with IBS with independent cohorts.”

“We conducted a genome-wide association study with 53,400 cases and 433,201 controls and replicated significant associations in a 23andMe panel (205,252 cases and 1,384,055 controls),” the authors also explained.

The study, which implicated the following genes: NCAM1, CADM2, PHF2/FAM120A, DOCK9, CKAP2/TPTE2P3 and BAG6, highlights just how significant it is for further research to explore the brain-gut interactions associated with IBS symptoms.

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