Monday, December 24, 2012

Molehills and Mountains

If you suffer from IBS, chances are you're very considerate of others and even possibly an anxious ''catastrophizer.'' It was repeatedly concluded based on magnetic resonance imaging of the brain and psychological questionnaires -  for students and non-students, Easterners and Westerners, right-handed and left-handed individuals. In fact, IBS sufferers' anxieties are somewhere in between those of people with Crohn's disease (similar to healthy persons) and panic patients. And many IBS sufferers are convinced that social and occupational implications of their gastrointestinal symptoms are a catastrophe.

As someone once said, catastrophizing is not just about watching slow German films or reading Russian literature and feeling as though life is an intolerable and senseless joke. If practiced properly, catastrophizing could make many things go wrong and create a reality around our worries and fears. Including fears focused on the gut. Because if you believe something will go wrong, you make it go wrong.

But is it the personality that makes us susceptible to IBS or is it IBS that changes our personality? The connection between the brain and the gut is definitely bidirectional. So this question might be a chicken-and-egg problem.

Animal studies suggest that perturbations of behavior, such as stress, can alter microbial communities in the gut. Experimental perturbation of the microbial communities, in its turn, can alter behavior. Getting rid of some microbes helped mice to reduce anxiety or even become bold and adventurous (after neomycin, bacitracin, and pimaricin antibiotics were administered to timid and shy BALB/c mice), while adding new species of bacteria such as Campylobacter jejuni  made mice more cautious.

Many recent studies indicate the possibility of discovering bacteria specific for different types of IBS. But you can make your own discoveries before science does. Such as the best diet, exercise and emotional attitude to cultivate the bacteria of success.

Your result will be the last one in the table below. It might take up to 24 hrs for it to appear so please come back to see it.
Your score is represented in three dimensions:
rumination (repetitiveness of focusing on the symptoms of distress), magnification (the degree to which you tend to magnify your symptoms) and hopelessness (the despair you feel when you have abandoned hope of comfort or success).


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