Scientists find a link between depression and gut health

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In a new study from the University of Queensland, researchers confirmed a link between depression and stomach ulcers.

By studying health data from nearly half a million people, they provided clues to how the gut and brain work together.

The study supported a holistic approach to caring for patients with gastrointestinal diseases like peptic ulcers, which affect between 5% and 10% of people at some time in their lives.

Stress was thought to be the leading cause of peptic ulcer disease until it was linked to the bacteria H. pylori.

Medication had since reduced the disease’s prevalence, but the importance of other risk factors including lifestyle and psychological factors now needed to be re-emphasized.

In the study, the team used health data from 456,327 individuals from the UK Biobank and identified eight genetic variations linked to the risk of getting peptic ulcer disease.

Six of the eight variations can be linked to why some people are more prone to H. pylori infection, which would make them more susceptible to peptic ulcer disease.

The team says an existing peptic ulcer treatment targeted one of these genetic variations, so identifying other associated genes could offer opportunities for new treatments.

If they can provide genetic risk scores to patients, it could be part of a prevention program to help reduce the rates of peptic ulcer disease.

If you care about depression, please read studies about a new ‘warning sign’ of early depression and findings of long-term use of depression drug may cause addiction.

For more information about depression treatment and prevention, please see recent studies about this psychedelic drug may reduce depression, anxiety for years and results showing that this mood function is low or even absent in people with depression.

The study is published in Nature Communications. One author of the study is Professor Naomi Wray.

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