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If You Find This in Your Belly, You Might Have Depression, Says Study

The gut-brain relationship extends to mental health.

Have you ever gotten butterflies in your stomach or heard bad news and felt it in your gut? For many years, health experts have been adamant about the brain-gut connection—the concept that your emotions and brain activity can influence what goes on with your digestive system. Now, new research has established a link between the gut and one of the most common mental health conditions: depression. Read on to learn about it—and to ensure your health and the health of others, don't miss these Sure Signs You've Already Had Coronavirus

New Study Finds Genetic Relationship Between Stomach Ulcers and Depression

A new study published in the journal Nature Communications has established a genetic relationship between stomach ulcers and depression. More specifically, people who suffer from psychiatric disorders, including major depression, are more susceptible to peptic ulcer disease. 

"While a causal relationship cannot be confirmed between major depression and digestion related disorders (or vice versa), consideration of clinical implications of a possible relationship is justified," the researchers write in the study. "When treating patients with [major depression], awareness of the digestion symptoms for [peptic ulcer disease] could help to decide if further interventions are needed."

Professor Naomi Wray and Dr. Yeda Wu from the Institute for Molecular Bioscience believe that their findings could promote a more holistic approach to treating the condition. "As a medical student, I noticed how some patients' gastrointestinal symptoms improved after psychotherapy or psychiatry treatment," Dr Wu said in a press release. "This study linking major depression with an increased risk of gastrointestinal disorders also explains the co-morbidity of the conditions."

The researchers studied health data from 456,327 individuals from the UK Biobank, identifying eight genetic variations associated with the risk of getting peptic ulcer disease. "Six of the eight variations can be linked to why some people are more prone to H. pylori infection, which would make them more susceptible to peptic ulcer disease," Professor Wray explained. 

Professor Wray continued to explain that while existing peptic ulcer treatment targets the gene linked to one of these genetic variations,  identification of other associated genes could offer opportunities to develop new treatments.

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How to Stay Stress-Free During This Pandemic

One of the best ways to maintain your health during the pandemic is by following Dr. Anthony Fauci's fundamentals, no matter where you live—wear a face mask that fits snugly and is double layered, don't travel, social distance, avoid large crowds, don't go indoors with people you're not sheltering with (especially in bars), practice good hand hygiene, get vaccinated when it becomes available to you, and to protect your life and the lives of others, don't visit any of these 35 Places You're Most Likely to Catch COVID.