CHILDHOOD STRESS MAY ALTER MICROBIOME, PRODUCING GI SYMPTOMS & ANXIETY
CHILDHOOD STRESS MAY ALTER MICROBIOME, PRODUCING GI SYMPTOMS AND ANXIETY
by Tara Troy, M.D.
Check out this fascinating article in Gastroenterology and Endoscopy News that details a study from the researchers at Columbia University about the negative impact that stressful events during childhood, such as institutional and foster care, can have on the gut microbiome, gastrointestinal symptoms, and anxiety.
“Infants exposed to stressful caregiving experiences may be at risk for microbial dysbiosis, putting them at further risk for gastrointestinal symptoms and anxiety, researchers have found.”
“Nearly 230 participants were raised by their biological parents, without reports of adverse caregiving, and 230 others spent their infancy in an institutional or foster care setting and subsequently were adopted….
Caregivers and, when possible, children were asked at baseline and two and four years about GI symptoms. Children also underwent brain functional MRI (fMRI) at baseline to assess anxiety, and had a stool microbiome analysis at four years.
Dr. Callaghan’s team found that children who were raised in institutional or foster care had significantly higher rates of GI symptoms at baseline. Symptoms included nausea, stomach pain, vomiting and constipation. This subset of participants with GI symptoms also had higher rates of anxiety at both baseline and follow-up….
Among children who provided stool samples and underwent brain fMRI, early life adversity was associated with changes in the diversity and concentrations of microbes, which also were correlated with anxiety as measured on fMRI.
“The current data strongly support further investigation of gastrointestinal distress in youth as a predictor of future psychopathology, as well as a more general investigation of the gastrointestinal system in foster care, previously institutionalized, and otherwise early adversity–exposed populations of developing youth,” the researchers concluded.”
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