Since many of our body parts are intricately connected, it is no surprise that sometimes, good health in one area can mean getting some benefits in other areas as well.
That being said, as it turns out, there is a rather unexpected link between education and reduced risk of being diagnosed with different gut disorders.
The research in question is built on an older study conducted by members of the same team that previously discovered a genetic link between Alzheimer’s disease and gastrointestinal tract health problems.
Simon Laws, a geneticist from Edith Cowan University in Australia, says that “Gut disorders and Alzheimer’s might not only share a common genetic predisposition but may also be similarly influenced by genetic variations underpinning educational attainment.”
The researchers used data from no less than 766,345 people previously involved in genome-wide association studies that studied the association between Alzheimer’s, cognitive traits and gut disorders.
By applying the so-called Mendelian Randomization Analysis, the research team proved that it is possible for different factors such as education and higher intelligence in general, to be directly related to a lower risk of gut disorders.
In addition to that, they also found evidence that GERD caused cognitive decline over a number of different traits including education and intelligence, suggesting that this gut brain relationship might go both ways.
Emmanuel Adewuyi, a geneticist from Edith Cowan University, explains that “GERD may be a risk factor for cognitive impairment, so it is important for health workers to look for signs or for symptoms of cognitive dysfunction in patients with the gut disorder.”
This is not the first time that the brain-gut axis has been thoroughly studied.
For instance, it is a well known fact that following a healthy diet can reduce the brain’s stress levels.
Even though it is still unclear how these strong relationships between the brain and gut form, it is clear that problems at one end can spell trouble at the other.
The researchers suggest that their findings may end up influencing government policies.
More precisely, Adewuyi explains that “The results support education as a likely avenue for reducing the risk of gut disorders by, for instance, encouraging higher education or a likely increase in the length of schooling. Therefore, policy efforts aimed at increasing educational attainment or any cognitive training might contribute to a higher level of intelligence, which may lead to better health including a reduced risk of gut disorders.”