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  1. Natasha A Koloski1,
  2. Michael Jones2,
  3. Nicholas J Talley1
  1. 1Faculty of Health, University of Newcastle, Callaghan, New South Wales, Australia
  2. 2Department of Psychology, Macquarie University, North Ryde, New South Wales, Australia
  1. Correspondence to Professor Nicholas J Talley, Faculty of Health, University of Newcastle, Callaghan NSW 2308, Australia; nicholas.talley{at}

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We appreciate the comments made by Drs Whitehouse and Ford1 regarding our recent study investigating the directionality of the brain–gut mechanism in functional gastrointestinal disorders (FGID),2 but they have misread the paper.

In a 12-year longitudinal, prospective, population-based study we found that among people free of an FGID at baseline, higher levels of anxiety were a significant independent predictor of developing new onset FGIDs 12 years later.2 Among those who did not have elevated levels of anxiety and depression at baseline, individuals with an FGID at baseline had significantly higher levels of anxiety and depression at follow-up, suggesting that the brain–gut mechanism is bidirectional in FGIDs.2 …

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  • Competing interests None.

  • Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.