A Breakthrough in Irritable Bowel Syndrome

Research in University College, Cork has provided evidence that links the extremely distressing and embarrassing irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) to extreme stress in childhood. Up to now, medical doctors had found no obvious organic cause for this painful and debilitating condition. The researchers, Dr. John Cryan and Professor Ted Dinan found that individuals with the condition reported having a lot of stress in their lives and had experienced highly stressful events during childhood. Without going into the biochemical complexities of their research, it was found that higher glutamate (an essential protein) in the spinal cord may be contributing to the emergence of severe abdominal pain as reported by persons with IBS. The researchers believe that the current expensive medication is not very effective due to the fact that it does not target the glutamate transporter specifically. They are determined to develop a new drug that will be specific to the physical pain symptoms of the condition.

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Holding Out for Love

May 4th was Asthma Day and I was reminded of the very high and increasing level of asthma in Ireland.  Presently, over 440,000 individuals suffer from this condition. The condition of bronchial asthma refers to the type of suffocation-spasm typified by wheezing during expiration. It is preceded by a constriction of the small bronchi and bronchioles, which can be caused by a cramping (a prolonged holding) of the smooth musculature, an inflammatory itching of the airways and an allergic swelling and secretion of the mucous membranes. Individuals – children and adults alike – experience asthma as a life-threatening suffocation: sufferers claw for air and breathe in gasps with the out breath especially throttled.

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