Crossing barriers: Gut-to-brain lessons from interdisciplinary collaboration

Research, stemming from collaborative efforts of experts across medical sciences, is providing important, clinically relevant information about the progression of diseases that cross body barriers. The mysteries of multi-faceted neuroimmune disorders, such as Autism Spectrum Disorders, autoimmune thyroid disorders and chronic fatigue syndrome, are being solved through pioneering medical scientists. Although the combined disciplines are relatively new, there are scores of important publications. Based on the prevalence of gluten sensitivities and depression, we have selected to review a few related studies that illustrate the gut-to-brain connections, through mapping the biomolecular cascades beginning with stressors, which inflame the gut, and ending in neuronal death. We conclude that all patients exhibiting clinical complaints ranging from gastrointestinal upset to migraine or from depression to fatigue, should be assessed for increased intestinal permeability by measuring antibodies against tight junction proteins and antibodies against bacterial lipopolysaccharides and other toxins.

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