• Associations of neurotransmitters and the gut microbiome with emotional distress in mixed type of irritable bowel syndrome.

      Barandouzi, Zahra A; Lee, Joochul; Del Carmen Rosas, Maria; Chen, Jie; Henderson, Wendy A; Starkweather, Angela R; Cong, Xiaomei S (Springer Nature, 2022-01-31)
      Evidence highlights the comorbidity between emotional distress and irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) through the gut-brain axis. However, the underlying mechanism is largely unknown. Thus, the present study aimed to evaluate the associations among neurotransmitter levels and the gut microbiome profiles in persons with IBS and emotional distress. In this nested case-controlled study, emotional symptoms, including anxiety and depressive symptoms, were evaluated in 40 persons with IBS and 20 healthy controls (HC). Plasma neurotransmitters levels (serotonin and norepinephrine) and the gut microbiome profile of the collected fecal samples were examined. Emotional distress and microbiome profile were significantly different between IBS and HC groups. Lower but not significant neurotransmitters' levels (serotonin and norepinephrine) were observed in the IBS group compared to the HC. A negative correlation was found between norepinephrine levels and alpha diversity (Shannon and Simpson indices) in the IBS group. Moreover, serotonin levels were positively associated with the abundance of Proteobacteria, and norepinephrine were positively correlated with Bacteroidetes, but negatively associated with Firmicutes phylum. The present study demonstrated alteration in the gut microbiome between persons with IBS and emotional distress compared to HC. The correlations between plasma neurotransmitters and the gut microbiome suggest that the gut microbiome may impact the regulation of neurotransmitters.
    • The diagnostic odyssey of autism: a cross-sectional study of 3 age cohorts of children from the 2016-2018 National Survey of Children's Health

      Hanley, Allison; Nguyen, Quynh C; Badawi, Deborah Golant; Chen, Jie; Ma, Tianzhou; Slopen, Natalie (Springer Nature, 2021-10-10)
      Background: Autism prevalence has increased rapidly in recent years, however, nationally representative estimates on the ages of first identification and intervention are out of date. Objectives: (1) To estimate the ages at which children with autism receive their first diagnosis, intervention plan, and developmental services; and (2) To evaluate differences in ages at events by birth cohort and sociodemographic characteristics. Methods: Using cross-sectional data from the 2016-2018 National Survey of Children's Health (NSCH), we examined associations via linear regression among a sample of 2303 children aged 2-17 years old, who had ever been diagnosed with autism and either (1) ever had a plan for special education or early intervention, or (2) ever received special services to meet developmental needs. Exposures included age cohort, child, household and healthcare provider characteristics. Results: Most children in the study sample (n = 2303) were over age 6 years, male, of non-Hispanic white race/ethnicity and had mild/moderate autism. Mean ages (years) at first diagnosis was 4.56 (SE = 0.13); first plan was 4.43 (SE = 0.11); and first services was 4.10 (SE = 0.11). After adjustment for exposures and survey year, the middle childhood cohort was 18 months older at first intervention (β = 1.49, 95% CI, 1.18-1.81), and adolescents were 38 months older at first diagnosis (β = 3.16, 95% CI, 2.72-3.60) compared to those in early childhood. Younger ages at events were observed among: Hispanic/Latinx as compared to white children, those with moderate or severe symptoms as compared to mild symptoms, and children who received their diagnosis from a specialist as compared to psychologists or psychiatrists. Conclusions: Children with autism receive their first diagnosis, intervention plans and developmental services at younger ages than they had in the past. Future research is needed to identify the mechanisms for these improvements in early identification and intervention to accelerate additional progress.
    • Early and Late Transcriptional Changes in Blood, Neural, and Colon Tissues in Rat Models of Stress-Induced and Comorbid Pain Hypersensitivity Reveal Regulatory Roles in Neurological Disease.

      Mocci, Evelina; Goto, Taichi; Chen, Jie; Ament, Seth; Traub, Richard J; Dorsey, Susan G (Frontiers Media S.A., 2022-05-17)
      BACKGROUND: Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) and temporomandibular disorder (TMD) are two chronic pain conditions that frequently overlap in the same individual, more commonly in women. Stress is a significant risk factor, exacerbating or triggering one or both conditions. However, the mechanisms underlying IBS-TMD co-morbidity are mostly unknown. AIM: To detect both specific and common stress-induced visceral hypersensitivity (SIH) and comorbid TMD-IBS pain hypersensitivity (CPH) genetic signatures over time. METHOD: Twenty-four female rats were randomly assigned to one of three experimental groups: naïve, SIH, and CPH (orofacial pain plus stress). RNA was extracted from blood, colon, spinal cord, and dorsal root ganglion 1 or 7 weeks after the stress paradigm. We combined differential gene expression and co-expression network analyses to define both SIH and CPH expression profiles across tissues and time. RESULTS: The transcriptomic profile in blood and colon showed increased expression of genes enriched in inflammatory and neurological biological processes in CPH compared to SIH rats, both at 1 and 7 weeks after stress. In lumbosacral spinal tissue, both SIH and CPH rats compared to naïve revealed decreased expression of genes related to synaptic activity and increased expression of genes enriched in "angiogenesis," "Neurotrophin," and "PI3K-Akt" pathways. Compared to SIH, CPH rats showed increased expression of angiogenesis-related genes 1 week after exposure to stress, while 7 weeks post-stress the expression of these genes was higher in SIH rats. In dorsal root ganglia (DRG), CPH rats showed decreased expression of immune response genes at week 1 and inhibition of nerve myelination genes at 7 weeks compared to naïve. For all tissues, we observed higher expression of genes involved in ATP production in SIH compared to CPH at 1 week and this was reversed 7 weeks after the induction of stress. CONCLUSION: Our study highlights an increased inflammatory response in CPH compared to SIH rats in the blood and colon. DRG and spinal transcriptomic profiles of both CPH and SIH rats showed inhibition of synaptic activity along with activation of angiogenesis. Targeting these biological processes may lead to a more profound understanding of the mechanisms underlying IBS-TMD comorbidities and new diagnostic and therapeutic strategies.
    • The effect of self-management online modules plus nurse-led support on pain and quality of life among young adults with irritable bowel syndrome: A randomized controlled trial.

      Chen, Jie; Zhang, Yiming; Barandouzi, Zahra Amirkhanzadeh; Lee, Joochul; Zhao, Tingting; Xu, Wanli; Chen, Ming-Hui; Feng, Bin; Starkweather, Angela; Cong, Xiaomei (Elsevier, 2022-04-30)
      Background: Irritable bowel syndrome is a chronic pain condition that needs life-long self-management. However, the effect of self-management among young adults with irritable bowel syndrome is limited. Objectives: This study aimed to examine the effect of a nurse-led self-management program on pain, symptoms, and quality of life among young adults with irritable bowel syndrome. Design: A randomized controlled trial. Settings and participants: Eighty young adults with irritable bowel syndrome recruited from two campuses of a public university and two gastrointestinal clinics were randomly assigned into a self-management online education and learning modules alone group (Online Modules, n = 41) or a nurse-led one-to-one consultation plus self-management online education and learning modules group (Nurse-Led Online Modules, n = 39). Twenty-one healthy controls were also recruited from these two campuses. Methods: Both the intervention groups received ten online modules after baseline data collection. Participants in the Nurse-Led Online Modules group received additional three nurse-led one-to-one consultations at baseline, 6- and 12-week follow-ups. Self-reported pain, symptoms, quality of life, self-efficacy for managing chronic disease, and coping were measured at baseline, and 6- and 12-week follow-ups among the participants with irritable bowel syndrome. The healthy controls completed data collection of pain and symptoms at baseline and the 12-week follow-up. The intervention effects across study time points and the comparisons between the two interventional groups were analyzed using linear mixed models. A longitudinal mediation analysis was also conducted to explore the mediation effects of self-management mechanisms of the interventions. Results: Both the intervention groups showed significant interventional effects on decreasing pain intensity and pain interference and increasing quality of life at the 12-week follow-up (all p < 0.05). At the 12-week follow-up, the Nurse-Led Online Modules significantly reduced anxiety (p = 0.016) and had a significant greater improvement in quality of life than the Online Modules (p = 0.040). Increased self-efficacy mediated the intervention effect of the Nurse-Led Online Modules group on reducing pain interference and improving quality of life, while the effect of the Online Modules was mediated through decreasing inefficient coping strategy-catastrophizing. Conclusions: This study showed that both the pain self-management online education and nurse-led intervention were effective for alleviating pain and improving quality of life among young adults with irritable bowel syndrome by targeting the self-management process. The nurse-led intervention had a better outcome than the online education alone in improving quality of life. Registration number: NCT03332537.
    • When health care workers became patients with COVID-19: A qualitative study.

      Du, Li; Liu, Qian; Chen, Qin; Wang, Xiao Qin; Fang, Shu; Chen, Pan; Chen, Jie; Zhang, Zhi-Jiang; Liu, Zhongchun; Yang, Bing Xiang; et al. (John Wiley and Sons Inc., 2021-12-21)
      Aims: This study aimed to describe the experiences of nurses and other health care workers who were infected with coronavirus disease 2019. Methods: An empirical phenomenological approach was used. Sixteen participants were recruited in Wuhan using purposive and snowball sampling. Semistructured, in-depth interviews were conducted by telephone in February 2020. Interviews were transcribed verbatim and analysed following Colaizzi's method. Results: Two themes emerged: (1) Intense emotional distress since becoming infected. Participants were fearful of spreading the virus to family and overwhelmed by a lack of information, experienced uncertainty and worried about treatment, felt lonely during isolation and reported moral distress about inadequate health care staffing. (2) Coping strategies were needed. They tried their best to address negative psychological reactions using their professional knowledge and gaining support from others and community resources. Conclusions: Preparedness for catastrophic events and providing timely and accurate information are major considerations in government policy development, related to pandemics and adequacy of health care personnel. Mental health resources and support, both short- and long-term should be anticipated for health care providers to alleviate their fear and anxiety.