Talking Gut with Dr Jim Kantidakis

Talking Gut is where you get to learn about the gut, the brain and related systems and the surprising ways in which they interact.
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Talking Gut with Dr Jim Kantidakis





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Jun 22, 2020

In todays episode I have the wonderful pleasure to talk to Dr Antonina Mikocka-Walus.

Dr Antonina Mikocka-Walus is a registered psychologist and Associate Professor in the School of Psychology at Deakin University in Melbourne. She completed her PhD in Psycho-gastroenterology at the University of Adelaide and has since worked at Monash University, University of South Australia, University of York (UK), and has been at Deakin University since 2016.

Antonina is an active researcher, with over 100 research publications, largely on the brain-gut links, psychotherapy and antidepressant treatment in chronic gastrointestinal conditions. Her research has received funding from such organisations as the Wellcome Trust, Crohn’s and Colitis Foundation of America, and Crohn’s & Colitis Australia. Her research has informed the national and international guidelines on treatment of inflammatory bowel disease and has been translated into practice in Australia. Antonina is presently Associate Editor for Journal of Psychosomatic Research.​

We discussed a lot in todays episode. From research into the brain gut connection and IBD, How IBD effects Mental health to how Mental health effects IBD. We also discussed the benefits of antidepressants in IBD, and something some people might not know, Antonina’s own personal journey with IBD. A remarkable story.

I am excited to say we also discussed her recent book titled ‘IBD and the Gut Brain Connection. A patient and carers guide to taming CD and UC’. It’s a great book, and I strongly recommend for anyone who has been diagnosed with IBD, or their carer, and even health professionals working in the field of Gastroenterology.

I am confident you will find my talk with Dr Antonia Mikocka-Walus really valuable, please enjoy.

May 20, 2020

In todays episode I had the pleasure to talk to Tina Aswani Omprakash from Own your Own Crohns. Tina is someone who was diagnosed with Inflammatory Bowel Disease 13 years ago and has gone on to become an IBD Blogger and patient advocate. Not only has Tina needed to deal with Crohns disease, but also an additional 22 diagnoses including gastroparesis, post-surgical irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), small intestinal bacterial overgrowth (SIBO), vestibular migraines, vertigo, inflammatory arthritis and pelvic floor dysfunction . And lets not forget the associated mental health challenges including anxiety, depression and medial PTSD.

I met Tina last year in May at the Digestive Diseases Week meeting in San Dieago and have stayed connected with her via the social media platforms.

Tina has been very open in talking about her past and present challenges in managing her multiple diagnoses in order to help and support others. She has done such an incredible job that in 2019, she won the Healio Disruptive Innovator Award for the Patient Voice category at the American College of Gastroenterology’s conference in San Antonio.

You can reach out and connect with Tina via her blog posts on or her facebook and twitter pages under the same name.

This is a story of incredible resilience.

I hope you get a lot of value from listening to my conversation with Tina Aswani Omprakash


Mar 9, 2020


Dr Rachael Coakley, Ph.D., is the Director of Clinical Innovation and Outreach in Pain Medicine in the Department of Anesthesia, Critical Care and Pain Medicine at Boston Children’s Hospital. She is also an assistant professor at Harvard Medical School.

Dr. Coakley specializes in teaching children, adolescents and parents effective strategies to cope with pediatric chronic pain and pain-related stress using relaxation, mindfulness, and cognitive behavioral skills.

She has published numerous articles and chapters on pediatric pain management and related topics and has presented at national and international conferences.

Dr. Coakley founded The Comfort Ability in 2011 and directs the implementation at Boston Children’s Hospital. Since its implementation, the program reach has grown to not only other states in the US, but also other countries, including Australia.

For her work with The Comfort Ability program she was granted the 2016 David Weiner Award for Innovation in Child Health.

Dr. Coakley has also published a book, titled “When Your Child Hurts: Effective Strategies to Increase Comfort, Reduce Stress and Break the Cycle of Chronic Pain” (Yale University Press), which won a 2016 National Parenting Products Award (NAPPA).

So what is the Comfort Ability?


The Comfort Ability is a fun and interactive one-day program to help adolescents and their parents or caregivers learn how to better manage chronic pain. The program teaches how pain functions in the body and introduces cognitive behavioral and biobehavioral pain management strategies. The Comfort Ability emphasizes the mind-body connection and offers non-invasive and non-pharmaceutical strategies for improved pain management.


I hope you enjoy my interview with Dr Rachael Coakley.