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Open Access Editorial

A neurological approach to biopsychosocial medicine: Lessons from irritable bowel syndrome

Shin Fukudo

Author Affiliations

Department of Behavioral Medicine, Tohoku University Graduate School of Medicine Sendai, Japan

BioPsychoSocial Medicine 2011, 5:1  doi:10.1186/1751-0759-5-1

Published: 31 January 2011

First paragraph (this article has no abstract)

Modern people are still influenced by the mind-body dualism of Rene Descartes. Some of these people said "Anxiety aggravated the symptoms of these patients," a notion that most people probably consider natural. By contrast, I would like to criticize this concept because anxiety is posited as an independent driving force that actively changes one's body. However, anxiety per se is a subjective feeling produced by the brain and somatic signals from the body. Actually, neural activities in the central and autonomic nervous systems along with endocrine and immune function change the body. From this point of view, anxiety is not the CAUSE of mind-body changes but the RESULT of them. The origin and synthetic processing of emotion are more important than simple idea that the "mind" directly changes the body. Descartes' mind-body dualism conceals, in our view, how diseases should be recognized and analyzed.