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Gut bacteria can affect brain health

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We have known for a long time that there is a strong connection between the intestine and the brain, so that over the last twenty years several studies have discovered, for example, links between autoimmune disorders and different psychiatric conditions. The strong suspicion is that the intestinal microbiome, ie the set of all bacteria that live in the various parts of our intestine, strongly influences the health of the brain but this relationship is fundamentally unknown.

A new study, conducted by scientists at Weill Cornell Medical College provides new insights into the molecular cellular processes that underlie communication between the same microbes in the gut and brain cells. As David Artis, director of the Jill Roberts Institute for Research in Inflammatory Bowel Disease and professor of immunology, explains, this research represents a sort of initial path to understanding “the whole picture” about the chronic gastrointestinal conditions that affect mental health and even the behavior.

The researchers used experiments carried out on mice to understand the changes that occur in brain cells when the intestinal microbiome begins to run out. The researchers, in fact, reduced the microbial populations in the intestines of the mice through antibiotics. These mice showed very low learning abilities, for example in learning that a danger or threat was no longer present. By analyzing the microglia of the brain of mice, the researchers discovered an altered gene expression in these cells that influenced the connection between brain cells during the learning processes.

Furthermore, in mice with a lower quantity of bacteria in the intestine, changes could be noted in the concentrations of different metabolites linked to various neuropsychiatric disorders that also occur in humans, such as schizophrenia or autism. “Brain chemistry essentially determines how we feel and respond to our environment, and the evidence is showing that chemicals derived from intestinal microbes play an important role,” says Frank Schroeder, a professor at the Boyce Thompson Institute and one of the authors of the study.

This study conforms to the existence of a strong connection between the intestine and the brain and how this same connection influences our life day by day and only now we are beginning to understand how the intestine itself, or rather the bacteria inside it, can influence even diseases like autism, Parkinson’s and depression. Perhaps in the future we will be able to identify new targets for the treatment of these diseases, as Conor Liston suggests, an associate professor of neuroscience in the Feil Family Brain & Mind Research Institute and another author of the study.

Johnathan Flint

Johnathan is a recent graduate of the Missouri University of Science and Technology with a Bachelor of Medicine, and is an avid reader of numerous medical journals. He recently joined Health Shiner as an editor, researcher and content contributor, and brings a great deal of knowledge and wisdom to our reporting.

2462 White Oak Drive, Weston Missouri, 64098
Ph: 816-640-5682
Email: [email protected]
Johnathan Flint
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Medical Research

Tobacco also linked to worse mental health according to a new study

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Often, when reference is made to the damage of cigarette smoking, mental health is hardly ever thought about, and yet cigarettes are also bad for you. This is suggested by a study by Professor Hagai Levine of the Hebrew University of Jerusalem published in PLOS ONE.

Levine and colleagues carried out a survey of 2000 Serbian university students from different social and economic backgrounds. The researchers found that students who smoked showed higher rates of clinical depression than their non-smoking peers, two to three times.

Taking into consideration only the students of the University of Pristina, the researchers found that 14% of the smoking students suffered from depression compared to 4% of the non-smoking peers, while for the University of Belgrade the percentages were 19% compared to 11% respectively.

The same students who smoked also showed lower mental health scores than non-smokers. According to Levine, this study adds further evidence that smoking and depression may be linked; although there is no direct evidence yet that smoking causes depression, it can be said that tobacco seems to have a non-positive effect on mental health.

Johnathan Flint

Johnathan is a recent graduate of the Missouri University of Science and Technology with a Bachelor of Medicine, and is an avid reader of numerous medical journals. He recently joined Health Shiner as an editor, researcher and content contributor, and brings a great deal of knowledge and wisdom to our reporting.

2462 White Oak Drive, Weston Missouri, 64098
Ph: 816-640-5682
Email: [email protected]
Johnathan Flint
Continue Reading

Medical Research

One can evaluate hearing quality by analyzing pupil dilation according to researchers

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It may prove to be a new and effective hearing test developed by a team of neuroscientists at the University of Oregon. According to a statement on the university’s website, it is possible to assess a person’s hearing level by measuring pupil dilation.

According to the same statement, this approach could be useful to understand the quality of hearing in infants, young adults with disabilities and adults with stroke or other diseases and in general in those people for whom direct responses are not possible. The researchers performed experiments on 31 adults by monitoring the size of their pupils with eye detection technology. The detection took place while the same people performed a hearing test and while staring at an object at a monitor.

The study, published in the Journal of the Association for Research in Otorhinolaryngology, explains that this system is inspired by a discovery made by the main author of the study, Avinash Singh Bala, 10 years ago when he noticed changes in the pupils of barn owls in response to unexpected noises in their natural environment.

“What we discovered was that pupil dilation was as sensitive as the button-press method,” Bala explains. “We had presented the first data analyses at the conferences and there was a lot of resistance to the idea that by using an involuntary response we could get results as good as the button-pressing data.”

Johnathan Flint

Johnathan is a recent graduate of the Missouri University of Science and Technology with a Bachelor of Medicine, and is an avid reader of numerous medical journals. He recently joined Health Shiner as an editor, researcher and content contributor, and brings a great deal of knowledge and wisdom to our reporting.

2462 White Oak Drive, Weston Missouri, 64098
Ph: 816-640-5682
Email: [email protected]
Johnathan Flint
Continue Reading

Medical Research

New peanut butter with probiotics developed by scientist

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A new peanut butter that allows you to acquire probiotic positives was developed by researcher Dan Perlman. Probiotics are microorganisms that live in the digestive system that help to promote digestion, produce important hormones and vitamins and generally strengthen the immune system.

For years, Perlman has been looking for new ways to “pack” probiotics into food to allow people to acquire them without using pills or third-party capsules. Probiotics need to be ingested alive to take advantage of their positive characteristics but if there is not enough water or other energy sources in the food to support these bacteria, they die quickly and are therefore useless once ingested.

Walnut butters seem to be unsuitable for cramming live probiotics as they contain very little water. However, the researcher noted that when freeze-dried peanut butter bacteria come in, the bacteria themselves remain “suspended” in a sort of deep sleep, still alive but ready to get back to work and “wake up” once they are ingested by people.

This is because they remain trapped in the structure of the fat matrix of these foods, a rather crystalline fat.

In the new peanut butter developed by the researcher, there are 500 million to one billion bacteria in a two-spoon portion, the amount of a probiotic pill.

Now the researcher himself is looking for a way to make this new peanut butter with probiotics for commercial use.

Johnathan Flint

Johnathan is a recent graduate of the Missouri University of Science and Technology with a Bachelor of Medicine, and is an avid reader of numerous medical journals. He recently joined Health Shiner as an editor, researcher and content contributor, and brings a great deal of knowledge and wisdom to our reporting.

2462 White Oak Drive, Weston Missouri, 64098
Ph: 816-640-5682
Email: [email protected]
Johnathan Flint
Continue Reading
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