Creating a free account will enable you to subscribe to our daily and weekly email newsletters, as well as customize your reading experience to show only the categories most relevant to you.
Signing up only take a few minutes, so why not give it a try and see what you've been missing out on.
University of Adelaide researchers have made advances in the understanding of one of the world's most common medical conditions, gastric reflux, and how patients experience pain from it.
Gastric reflux affects as many as one in five people in Western countries and is on the increase in Asia. Diet and lifestyle, as well as genetic and hormonal issues, are commonly considered to be major causes of gastric reflux.
In laboratory studies, researchers have identified the nerve pathways in the spinal cord that transmit pain signals associated with gastric reflux to the brain.
"This is the first time anyone has shown the pain pathways in the spinal cord that receive direct input from acid-sensitive nerve endings in the esophagus," says Dr Andrea Harrington, an Australian Research Council (ARC) DECRA Research Fellow in the University's Nerve-Gut Laboratory.
"This is important because we know that the esophageal nerves undergo changes in gastric reflux patients that make them overly sensitive to acid. There is also evidence to suggest that the whole circuitry becomes abnormally sensitive in these patients, resulting in ongoing pain responses in the absence of actual acid reflux. Our research will enable us to identify such mechanisms," she says.
Dr Harrington says it's important to better understand how we detect and perceive pain from gastric reflux.
"Being able to know exactly how pain pathways connect to the brain will give us new insights, which in the years ahead could lead to improved treatment," she says.
Dr Harrington says most current treatments focus on reducing the amount of acid in the stomach.
"However, we think it's a much more complex issue than that. There might come a time when treatments are able to both address the amount of acid in the stomach while correcting the sensitivity of nerve endings. This would go a long way to providing more balanced relief to suffers of gastric reflux."
The next step in this research is to find out how the pain pathways are changed in reflux sufferers.
The results of Dr Harrington's work have been published in this month's journal Neurogastroenterology & Motility.
The research has been funded by the ARC and the National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC).
Identifying spinal sensory pathways activated by noxious esophageal acid Neurogastroenterology & Motility DOI: 10.1111/nmo.12180 12 JUL 2013
Article adapted by Medical News Today from original press release. Click 'references' tab above for source.
Visit our Acid Reflux / GERD category page for the latest news on this subject.
Please use one of the following formats to cite this article in your essay, paper or report:
University of Adelaide. "How pain pathways connect to the brain in gastric reflux." Medical News Today. MediLexicon, Intl., 3 Oct. 2013. Web.
5 Dec. 2013. <http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/releases/266888>
University of Adelaide. (2013, October 3). "How pain pathways connect to the brain in gastric reflux." Medical News Today. Retrieved from
Please note: If no author information is provided, the source is cited instead.
If you write about specific medications, operations, or procedures please do not name healthcare professionals by name.
For any corrections of factual information, or to contact the our editorial team, please use our feedback form. Please send any medical news or health news press releases to:
Note: Any medical information published on this website is not intended as a substitute for informed medical advice and you should not take any action before consulting with a health care professional. For more information, please read our terms and conditions.
This page was printed from: http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/releases/266888.php
Visit www.medicalnewstoday.com for medical news and health news headlines posted throughout the day, every day.
© 2004-2013 All rights reserved. MNT (logo) is the registered trade mark of MediLexicon International Limited.