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New directions in brain imaging research in functional gastrointestinal disorders





Dig Dis. 2006;24(3-4):278-85.


New directions in brain imaging research in functional gastrointestinal disorders.


Ringel Y. UNC School of Medicine, Department of Medicine, Division of Digestive and Liver Diseases, Chapel Hill, N.C., USA.


Functional brain imaging has greatly enhanced the ability to investigate brain-gut interactions and to assess the central nervous system role on visceral pain perception. The results of studies using brain imaging in irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) have demonstrated differences in brain activation between patients with IBS and healthy controls. In addition, the more recent studies are starting to shed light on pathophysiological mechanisms that underlie the generation of functional gastrointestinal (GI) symptoms as well as the response to treatment. These studies highlight the potential of functional brain imaging to become an important and exciting investigative tool in research of functional GI disorders. However, the multifactorial, multideterminant nature of these disorders, the current limitations in the understanding of the pathophysiology of the disorders, and the heterogeneous patient population make brain imaging research in this field difficult and require caution in the interpretation of the data. The continued development of brain imaging techniques provides not only exciting opportunities but also significant challenges to the field. This article focuses on brain imaging research in functional GI disorders. It describes some of the recent developments in the use of brain imaging in research of the brain-gut axis and provides an overview of the current data. Copyright (c) 2006 S. Karger AG, Basel.


PMID: 16849855 [PubMed - in process]


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