16th World Congress on Pain in Yokohama

Who would have thought a few years ago, that our gut microbes may have an influence on the development of chronic pain? However, the exponential growth in interest of the scientific world in the gut microbiome in the last few years has made it possible to address this provocative question and provide intriguing data supporting it. At the 16th World Congress on Pain in Yokohama, the largest gathering of pain researchers and clinicians, several researchers presented data on the possible role of gut microbiota in chronic pain syndromes. Jennifer Labus, PhD from UCLA and Shin Fukudo, PhD from Tohoku University presented evidence to suggest that gut microbes may play a role in the abdominal pain symptoms in some patients with irritable bowel syndrome, and that there is some relationship between the parts of the brain that deal with pain processing and the microbiome. More work needs to be done to determine which subgroup of IBS patients has an abnormal microbiome, and which may be most responsive to probiotic therapy. For more about this topic, read The Mind Gut Connection Book.