Negative feelings of body image linked to weak gut-brain signals

A compelling new study led by researchers from Anglia Ruskin University has identified an association between negative body image and weak brain responses to signals from the gut and heart. The researchers hypothesize these findings could lead to objective diagnostic biomarkers for mental health disorders and potentially novel treatments.

“We experience our body both from the inside and out: we can be aware of how our skin and limbs look, but also of how hungry we feel or how strongly our heart is beating during exercise,” explains lead author on the new study, Jane Aspell. “The brain also continuously processes internal signals that we are not conscious of.”

The study of interoception, which is how the brain perceives internal body states, has rapidly advanced in recent decades. Just recently the US National Institutes of Health awarded more than US$18 million in funding for studies particularly focused on interoception

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