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The gut microbiome may play a role in irritable bowel syndrome

By Cara Murez

health day reporter

FRIDAY, Jan. 20, 2023 (HealthDay News) — Researchers believe they have found a link between lower bacterial diversity in the gut microbiome and irritable bowel syndrome (IBS).

Normally, “more than 10,000 species of microorganisms live in the human gut,” noted study co-author Dr. Jung Ok Shim, professor of pediatric gastroenterology, hepatology and nutrition. at Korea University College of Medicine in Seoul.

To study this, the investigators combined their own dataset with nine other published datasets, involving a total of 576 IBS patients and 487 healthy “control” patients.

What did they find? Gut bacteria were less diverse in IBS patients than in healthy people, Shim said.

The level of abundance of 21 specific bacterial species also differed between IBS patients and healthy controls, although the results were not statistically significant, the study authors noted.

The results were published online on January 18 in Microbiological spectruma journal of the American Society for Microbiology.

The study proved that this disrupted gut bacterial community “is associated with IBS, although this does not mean the relationship is causal,” Shim said in a company press release. “Functional studies are needed to prove whether the change in gut microorganisms contributes to the development of IBS.”

IBS is a common condition, causing bloating, diarrhea, stomach pain and cramps. Its cause is unknown and there is no effective treatment.

“Based on epidemiological studies of IBS patients, altered gut microbiota has been proposed as one of the possible causes of IBS,” the researchers wrote. “Acute bacterial gastroenteritis can cause chronic, asymptomatic, low-grade inflammation of the intestinal wall sufficient to impair neuromuscular and epithelial cell function.”

More information

The US National Library of Medicine has more on irritable bowel syndrome.

SOURCE: American Society for Microbiology, press release, January 19, 2023

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