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Traumatic Brain Injury May Lead to Intestinal Damage

A study published in November 2017 has found that altered communication between the brain and the digestive system may contribute to increased infections in patients who have experienced a traumatic brain injury (TBI). 

Approximately 1.5 million people in Canada are living with a brain injury.[1] Researchers have known for years that TBI has significant effects on the gastrointestinal (GI) tract, but until now, scientists have not recognized that brain trauma can also make the colon more permeable, potentially allowing harmful microbes to migrate from the intestine to other areas of the body and cause infection.

In a 2017 mouse study (see link below), researchers examined changes in mucosal barrier properties in the gut after experimentally-induced TBI, and also looked at the effects of the gut pathogen Citrobacterrodentium on both gut and brain after injury. The study demonstrated adverse bidirectional brain-gut interactions after TBI, which may result in poorer long-term outcomes after brain injury.

Source: https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0889159117302076?via%3Dihub


  1. Brain Injury Association of Canada. Eye-opening Facts and Figures. Accessed: 02/27/2018. http://braininjurycanada.ca/wp-content/uploads/2007/05/BIAC-Fact-Sheet-2014.pdf