And all the many ways in which a person’s abundant ecosystem of microbes in the intestines and other tissues can affect health, its potential influence on the brain may be the most provocative. Now, a study by two large groups of scientists has found that several species of intestinal bacteria are absent in people with depression.
The possible relationship between an imbalance in the intestinal microbiome and depression is also an intriguing concept.
To test this hypothesis, scientists at the APC microbiome center at College Cork University began transplanting the microbiome from depressed patients to animals. The procedure is known as faecal transplantation.
He showed that if you transfer bacteria, you also transfer behavior.
“We were very surprised that, just by taking microbiome samples, we could reproduce many of the characteristics of a depressed individual in a mouse,” says Professor John Cryan to the BBC.
These characteristics included, for example, anhedonia – the way in which depression can cause people to lose interest in what they normally find pleasurable.
For rats, this pleasure was obtained with sugar water that they wanted to drink more and more, but which they did not care about when they received the microbiome from a depressed individual, says Cryan.
Similar evidence for the relationship between the microbiome, the gut and the brain is also emerging in relation to Parkinson’s disease.
The disease is clearly a brain disorder. Patients lose control of their muscles as brain cells die, and this causes them to experience a characteristic tremor.
Now Professor Sarkis Mazmanian, a medical microbiologist at the California Institute of Technology (Caltech), has argued that intestinal bacteria seem to have a role in this.
“Classic neuroscientists would consider it a heresy to think that it is possible to understand events in the brain by researching the intestine,” he says, who nevertheless found “very strong” differences between the microbiomes of people with Parkinson’s and those without the disease.
Studies in animals genetically programmed to develop Parkinson’s show that intestinal bacteria are linked to the onset of the disease.
And when feces were transplanted from Parkinson’s patients to rats, they developed “much worse” symptoms than when feces from a healthy individual were used.
Mazmanian tells the BBC that “changes in the microbiome appear to be inducing Parkinson’s motor symptoms.”
“We are very excited about this because it allows us to point to the microbiome as a path to new therapies,” he says.
The relationship between the microbiome and the brain, scientists believe, brings up a whole new way of influencing our health and well-being
Although fascinating, the evidence that links the microbiome to the brain is, for now, preliminary.
The pioneers of this field of research, however, see an interesting prospect on the horizon – a whole new way to influence our health and well-being.
If microbes influence our brains, then maybe we can change our microbes for the better.
Book to complement the study
The book “Dear Bacteria” by Erica and Justin Sonnenburg describes how a group of researchers put normal mice and mice free of microbes by some memory tests. The forgetfulness in these mice can be explained by the fact that microbial-free mice have lower levels of BDNF. Neurotrophic factor derived from the brain, it is a powerful and important protein for learning and memory. Below we leave a button with an associated link below if you have more microbes of arrogance in your brain and do not buy through our link, we are grateful nonetheless for being able to help you.
The book “Dear Bacteria” by Erica and Justin Sonnenburg describes how a group of researchers put normal mice and mice free of microbes by some memory tests. The forgetfulness in these mice can be explained by the fact that microbial-free mice have lower levels of BDNF. Neurotrophic factor derived from the brain, it is a powerful and important protein for learning and memory.