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Letter to the Editor
Mind and Gut
Psychiatric News
Volume 36 Number 17 page 26-27

The article in the July 20 issue describing Dr. Michael Gershon’s lecture at APA’s 2001 annual meeting brought the biological basis of disorders of the G.I. tract to the fore. We must continue to emphasize the biopsychosocial underpinning of disorders of behavior and/or functioning. Eating disorders in particular are puzzling disorders because we have yet to fully explore the underlying biology. Dr. Gershon’s work brings us a step closer to answers.

Eating behavior is part of two of our most basic needs—human attachment and nourishment. Add a "gut that has a mind of its own" and its physiological vulnerabilities and we have puzzling clinical pictures to decipher. The mysterious gut is finally getting our attention. There is another condition that is often overlooked. Cancer of the G.I. tract or digestive organs may present as anorexia or symptoms of digestive dysfunction.

Although not as frequent as breast or lung cancer in the United States, G.I. and intra-abdominal cancers are often silent or present with symptoms related to eating. Although rare, stomach cancer has been reported in adolescents.

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