About Author: Weisiger

Doctor Richard A. Weisiger is a professor in residence and chief of medicine of the Faculty Gastroenterology and Liver Practices. He investigates the pathophysiology of functional disorders, with an emphasis on irritable bowel syndrome. He finds many disorders including depression, fibromyalgia and irritable bowel syndrome are caused by inappropriate activation of brain stress pathways. He states that while the stress response was adaptive in the ancestral environment where stress was usually brief (e.g., escaping a fire or flood), stress in modern life may persist for months or years. The resulting activation of stress pathways may cause multiple somatic symptoms (e.g., headache, anxiety, depression, abdominal pain, bloating, constipation, and diarrhea). He has found animal data indicates that abuse or neglect during early life causes permanent activation of brain stress pathways. These changes strongly predispose to functional disorders in adults. Permanent activation of central stress pathways can be triggered by a single episode of severe abuse or only a few days of neglect.

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