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Kwan of the Institute of Medical Science, University of Toronto, and associates used functional MRI to evaluate the responses of 9 IBS patients and 11 controls during rectal distensions that elicited either pain or a moderate urge to defecate.
The authors noted that interpreting brain activation during rectal distension combined both conscious responses and unconscious processing, through which the IBS patients were found to be abnormally conscious of the brain-gut relationship.