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Healthy Gut, Healthy Brain? Microbes and Brain Health Under the Microscope During Mind, Mood & Microbes Conference

Wednesday, November 30, 2016 Mental Health News J E 4
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AMSTERDAM, November 30, 2016 /PRNewswire/ --

Approximately 250 leading scientists and medical specialists from all over the world are meeting at the Royal Tropical Institute (KIT) in Amsterdam on December 1st and 2nd to discuss the influence of intestinal bacteria on the brain. The enormous enthusiasm for the Mind, Mood & Microbes conference shows that gut-brain communication is a hot topic. 

A human body contains more bacterial than human cells. Thanks to modern technology, we are increasingly able to determine what kinds of bacteria reside in the intestine and what effect they have on the body and brain. During the Mind, Mood & Microbes conference, neuropharmacologist Prof. Dr. John F. Cryan of University College Cork in Ireland will give a lecture on the influence of these intestinal bacteria (also called gut microbiota) on our brain. According to the professor, the composition of the gut microbiota and how they influence the brain via different substances/hormones is determined by different factors, such as; mode of delivery (cesarean section or vaginally), stress, use of antibiotics, and other environmental factors also play an important role.

In the last ten years, there has been an enormous increase in fundamental research in this field. According to Cryan, your brain can't function normally without your gut microbiota.[1] Research with mice, for example, shows that sterile mice (without intestinal bacteria) exhibit abnormal behavior; they are anxious, less social and even show autistic-like behaviour. In addition, they have various structural changes in their brain that indicate the importance of bacteria in the intestines. It teaches us that microorganisms are necessary for the normal development of the brain. A disturbance in the gut microbiota may be connected with certain brain disorders. A lot of research is being conducted on the mechanisms how intestinal bacteria affect brain health and -function. Communication seems to take place via, among other things, neurons and messenger substances.

Recent research shows that the composition of intestinal bacteria in patients with various brain disorders is different than the composition in healthy people.[2],[3] Professor Cryan sees potential in the use of beneficial bacteria (in other words, probiotics) for brain health. Now, clinical research is upcoming, in this way we can further unravel which microbial interventions have the desired effect in which type of patients.

By bridging the gap between fundamental research and clinical practice during the Mind, Mood & Microbes conference, this will potentially lead to new, targeted therapies in the future. So-called 'psychobiotics' could play a role in the treatment of various neurological and psychiatric disorders, such as; depression, anxiety disorders, ADHD, aggression, Parkinson's, schizophrenia, autism and Alzheimer's disorders. The first results in humans have been published in anxiety, depression, and schizophrenia.[4]-[6] Some of these specific probiotics are already on the market.

The international Mind, Mood & Microbes conference lasts two days and will start on Thursday at 8:30 with lectures by Prof. Dr. Cryan and professor of psychiatry Iris Sommer. There are also other renowed speakers, such as Prof. Dr. Jane Foster (McMaster University, Canada), Prof. Dr. Ted Dinan (Cork, Ireland), Dr. Francisco Quintana (Harvard, America) and many others.

More information about the conference can be found at: http://www.mindmoodmicrobes.org 

Reference List: 

1. Cryan and T. G. Dinan (2016). "Transferring the blues: Depression-associated gut microbiota induces neurobehavioural changes in the rat." J Psychiatr Res 82: 109-118. 

2. Scheperjans, F., V. Aho, P. A. Pereira, K. Koskinen, L. Paulin, E. Pekkonen, E. Haapaniemi, S. Kaakkola, J. Eerola-Rautio, M. Pohja, E. Kinnunen, K. Murros and P. Auvinen (2014). "Gut microbiota are related to Parkinson's disease and clinical phenotype." Mov Disord. 

3. Giloteaux, L., J. K. Goodrich, W. A. Walters, S. M. Levine, R. E. Ley and M. R. Hanson (2016). "Reduced diversity and altered composition of the gut microbiome in individuals with myalgic encephalomyelitis/chronic fatigue syndrome." Microbiome 4(1): 30. 

4. Steenbergen, L., Sellaro, R., van Hemert, S., Bosch, J. A. & Colzato, L. S. A randomized controlled trial to test the effect of multispecies probiotics on cognitive reactivity to sad mood. Brain, behavior, and immunity 48, 258-264, doi:10.1016/j.bbi.2015.04.003 (2015). 

5. Messaoudi M1, Violle N, Bisson JF, Desor D, Javelot H & Rougeot C. (2011) Beneficial psychological effects of a probiotic formulation (Lactobacillus helveticus R0052 and Bifidobacterium longum R0175) in healthy human volunteers. Gut Microbes. jul-Aug;2(4):256-61. doi: 10.4161/gmic.2.4.16108. Epub 2011 Jul 1.

6. Severance EG1, Gressitt KL2, Stallings CR3, Katsafanas E3, Schweinfurth LA3, L G Savage C3, Adamos MB3, Sweeney KM3, Origoni AE3, Khushalani S3, Dickerson FB3, & Yolken RH2. (2016) Probiotic normalization of Candida albicans in schizophrenia: a randomized, placebo-controlled, longitudinal pilot study. Brain Behav Immun. 2016 Nov 18. pii: S0889-1591(16)30521-9. doi: 10.1016/j.bbi.2016.11.019.

[Epub ahead of print] 

SOURCE Mind, Mood & Microbes

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