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J Pediatr. 2010 Feb;156(2):285-91.e1. doi: 10.1016/j.jpeds.2009.08.045. Epub 2009 Oct 28.

Increased auditory startle reflex in children with functional abdominal pain.

Author information

  • 1Department of Neurology and Clinical Neurophysiology, Academic Medical Center, University of Amsterdam, Amsterdam, The Netherlands. m.bakker@psy.umcn.nl

Abstract

OBJECTIVE:

To test the hypothesis that children with abdominal pain-related functional gastrointestinal disorders have a general hypersensitivity for sensory stimuli.

STUDY DESIGN:

Auditory startle reflexes were assessed in 20 children classified according to Rome III classifications of abdominal pain-related functional gastrointestinal disorders (13 irritable bowel syndrome [IBS], 7 functional abdominal pain syndrome; mean age, 12.4 years; 15 girls) and 23 control subjects (14 girls; mean age, 12.3 years) using a case-control design. The activity of 6 left-sided muscles and the sympathetic skin response were obtained by an electromyogram. We presented sudden loud noises to the subjects through headphones.

RESULTS:

Both the combined response of 6 muscles and the blink response proved to be significantly increased in patients with abdominal pain compared with control subjects. A significant increase of the sympathetic skin response was not found. Comorbid anxiety disorders (8 patients with abdominal pain) or Rome III subclassification did not significantly affect these results.

CONCLUSIONS:

This study demonstrates an objective hyperresponsivity to nongastrointestinal stimuli. Children with abdominal pain-related functional gastrointestinal disorders may have a generalized hypersensitivity of the central nervous system.

Copyright 2010 Mosby, Inc. All rights reserved.

PMID:
19846112
[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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