A functional GI disorder such as irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) has very specific symptoms. Over the past 5–10 years we’ve developed an understanding that many different components contribute to these symptoms. Brain-gut interactions, changes in serotonin signaling, motility, inflammation, gut sensitivity, genetic predispositions, and bacterial flora all can contribute to varying degrees in an individual having this condition. Not only will this help with developing more effective treatments, but better understanding of the factors that underlie symptoms in each individual will enable more reliable treatments that will work earlier on rather than trying hit or miss one after another.

Functional GI disorders, such as IBS, present challenges to both the patient and the doctor or other healthcare provider. For the patient, education about their disorder is important to improving management of their condition. For the doctor, understanding the many facets involved with the condition and addressing those that are most evident in each individual is important. 

Patients and many physicians alike will benefit from the recent and continuing advances, which not only further our understanding but also confirm the validity of the functional GI disorders.

Diagnostic advances: Symptoms and the roles of biological markers in IBS

How is our understanding of IBS changing? Will the way IBS is diagnosed change? An interview with Douglas A. Drossman, MD, Co-Director, UNC Center for Functional GI & Motility Disorders, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, NC. Dr. Drossman is a clinician, a clinical researcher, and an educator.

Symptoms and biomarkers in IBS

Brooks Cash, MD, USN, is Chief, Gastroenterology Division and Colon Health Initiative; and Associate Professor of Medicine, National Naval Medical Center, Bethesda, MD.  Dr. Cash explains the heterogeneous nature of IBS – a condition with causes that often differ from person to person – and the challenges of identifying biomarkers useful for diagnosis.

Diagnostic advances: Multiple factors in IBS and identifying biomarkers

What are we learning about IBS? What contributes to the symptoms? An interview with Gary M. Mawe, PhD, Professor of Anatomy and Neurobiology, University of Vermont, Burlington, VT. Dr. Mawe is a basic scientist.

Treatment status

How is our understanding of treatments for IBS changing? More comments from Dr. Drossman.

Treatment approach: Patient issues

Lin Chang, MD talks about the challenges to patients of finding accurate information, and finding care for their condition. Dr. Chang is Co-Director of the Center of Neurovisceral Sciences & Women’s Health at UCLA. (In another video, Dr. Chang talks about how brain and gut changes can interact to influence symptoms. Go »

Validating the functional GI disorders

Dr. Drossman explains continuing advances that help us understand and visualize these conditions.

About these videos and Resource

These interviews with IFFGD were taped at the 7th International Symposium on Functional GI Disorders held in Milwaukee, WI in April 2007.

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