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Today's Geriatric Medicine
E-Newsletter    April 2023
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Editor's E-Note

Irritable bowel syndrome causes gastrointestinal distress, but it also causes significant mental disturbance. University of Missouri School of Medicine researchers have found a link between the syndrome and anxiety, depression, and suicidal ideation, suggesting the need for greater attention from providers to the comorbidities associated with irritable bowel syndrome.

In addition to reading our e-newsletter, be sure to visit Today’s Geriatric Medicine’s website at www.TodaysGeriatricMedicine.com, where you’ll find news and information that’s relevant and reliable. We welcome your feedback at TGMeditor@gvpub.com. Follow Today’s Geriatric Medicine on Facebook and Twitter, too.

— Kate Jackson, editor
In This E-Newsletter
E-News Exclusive
IBS Patients Suffer Significantly Higher Rates of Anxiety, Depression, and Suicidal Ideation

New research from the University of Missouri School of Medicine has established a link between irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) and mental health challenges, such as anxiety, depression, and suicidal ideation. The research highlights the need for health professionals to evaluate and treat associated psychiatric comorbidities in IBS patients to improve their overall health and quality of life.

IBS is a chronic disorder of the stomach and intestines affecting up to 15% of the population. It causes cramping, abdominal pain, bloating, gas, and diarrhea. This study looked at more than 1.2 million IBS patient hospitalizations from 4,000 US hospitals over a three-year period and found that more than 38% had anxiety and more than 27% had depression. Both figures were double the rate of anxiety and depression found in those without IBS. The prevalence of psychiatric problems, including anxiety, depression, bipolar disorder, suicidal attempt/ideation, and eating disorders, was significantly higher in the IBS patient population when compared with the general adult population.

“One possible explanation is the so-called brain-gut axis,” says lead researcher Zahid Ijaz Tarar, MD, an assistant professor of clinical medicine. “We’ve long suspected that dysfunction of the brain-gut axis is bidirectional, such that IBS symptoms influence anxiety and depression, and on the other hand, psychiatric factors cause IBS symptoms. Medical professionals need to treat both ends of the axis.”

Other Geriatric News
The Gut Microbiome and IBS
Korean investigators, in a study published in Microbiology Spectrum, a journal of the American Society for Microbiology, claim to have found the first link between irritable bowel syndrome and lower than normal bacterial diversity in the intestine.

Alcohol Accelerates Alzheimer’s Disease
Even modest consumption of alcohol accelerates brain atrophy and increases the number of amyloid plaques in the brains of individuals with Alzheimer’s, according to a new preclinical study by Wake Forest University scientists published in Neurobiology of Disease.

Better End-of-Life Care at Home
Japanese researchers, publishing in the Journal of the American Geriatrics Society, have found that home health care clinics deliver better end-of-life care than geriatric clinics do.

New Screening Tool for Cognition Issues
Developed by the Cleveland Clinic, a low-cost, self-administered screening tool taken on a tablet prior to an annual physical in a primary care setting can efficiently assess mild cognitive impairment. The study results were published in Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease.
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Current Issue
Caring for Patients With Dementia
The role of providing dementia care is expanding to include earlier diagnosis from primary care providers, as well as knowledge of emerging drugs and new technology for cognitive testing.

Deprescribing at the End of Life
Polypharmacy, the use of five or more medications, is particularly detrimental to older patients with limited life expectancy. Geriatricians need to address the issue to improve patients’ well-being.

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