In the world’s largest study of genetic factors in peptic ulcer disease, a link between depression and stomach ulcers was confirmed
Researchers from the University of Queensland have confirmed a link between depression and stomach ulcers in the world’s largest study of genetic factors in peptic ulcer disease.
Professor Naomi and Ray of the Institute for Molecular Biological Sciences (IMB) at the University of Queensland and Queensland Brain Institute and Dr Yida Wu of IMB provided evidence of how the gut and the brain work together by studying health data for nearly half a million people.
Dr Wu said the research supports a holistic approach to caring for patients with gastrointestinal diseases such as peptic ulcers, which affect between five to 10 percent of people at some time in their lives.
“As a medical student, I noticed how digestive symptoms improved in some patients after psychotherapy or psychotherapy,” said Dr. Wu.
“This study linking major depression with an increased risk of developing gastrointestinal disorders also explains the co-morbidity of these conditions.”
Stress was thought to be the main cause of peptic ulcer disease until it was linked to H.pylori by Australian Nobel Prize winners Barry Marshall and Robin Warren.
Dr Wu said that medicines have since reduced the spread of the disease, but the importance of other risk factors including lifestyle and psychological factors must now be re-emphasized.
Professor Ray said: “To determine why some people develop ulcers, we studied health data from 456,327 individuals from the UK Biobank and identified eight genetic differences associated with the risk of developing peptic ulcer disease.”
“Six of the eight differences can be linked to the reason why some people are more susceptible to infection with H. pylori, which makes them more likely to develop peptic ulcer disease.”
Professor Ray said that current peptic ulcer treatment targets the gene associated with one of these genetic differences, so identifying other genes associated with it could provide opportunities for developing new treatments.
“Having access to broad health and genomic data sets allows researchers to enhance understanding of many complex diseases and traits,” she said.
Professor Ray said: “Sources such as the UK Biobank have now made it possible to study the genetic contribution of common diseases, such as peptic ulcer disease, and to fully understand the risks.”
“If we can provide patients with genetic risk scores, it could be part of a preventative program to help reduce rates of peptic ulcer disease.”
This research was published in Nature CommunicationsFunded by the National Council for Health and Medical Research.
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