-- Mary Elizabeth Dallas
TUESDAY, Feb. 25, 2014 (HealthDay News) -- Everybody does it,
but until now researchers were unsure about the exact mechanisms
behind a bowel movement.
New research reveals that two sets of so-called "pacemakers"
work together to create a certain rhythm, and these pacemakers use
nerves and muscles to allow two types of movement: one that allows
the body to absorb nutrients and another that moves food along the
"In the long run, it's simple," Jan Huizinga, a gastroenterology scientist at the Farncombe Family Digestive Health Institute at McMaster University in Canada, said in a university news release.
"It's like when a stone is dropped in water, it creates waves or motion that pushes things along, but when a second stone is dropped in the water, the movement changes to up and down, appearing to stay in the same place," the researcher explained.
So, when people have diarrhea, this activity is too low. For
those suffering from constipation, the same activity is too high,
Huizinga and colleagues noted. Abnormal activity can also lead to
pain associated with eating.
The study findings, published Feb. 24 in
Nature Communications, could help scientists develop new
drugs or nutrients to treat diarrhea, constipation, bloating or
disorders that prevent people from absorbing nutrients
The U.S. National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney
Diseases has more about
the digestive systemand how it works.
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