Researchers have found that the microbial community in the brain can be linked to brain activity.
They say the findings support the idea that microbial communities in the gut may be important for brain health.
“It’s a link between gut microbes and how the brain works, and how it functions, as well as how our brains are wired,” said Dr. Matthew Fenton, a professor of psychology and neuroscience at the University of California, Berkeley.
He and his colleagues used DNA sequencing to study the gut microbiome of 17 healthy adults over a six-month period.
They found that individuals with high levels of the microbe Enterococcus faecalis, a bacteria found in the intestines, showed significantly higher activity in a brain region called the insula, which is a part of the brainstem.
This brain region controls our movement and sensory processing.
“This suggests that if there’s a problem in the insular cortex, that the insuleural cortex is the part that is to blame,” Fenton said.
It’s really a link that connects a whole bunch of different brain systems.” “
If you have a problem with the insulum, it’s not just the insumas brain, but it’s also the limbis brain.
It’s really a link that connects a whole bunch of different brain systems.”
The findings could be useful for treating and preventing neurological diseases.
“There are a lot more diseases in the world where the insolumas limbic systems are involved than the insuli,” Fentons co-author and UCSB graduate student Jennifer McLean said.
She is working on a study about how the insulators of the insulas might be affected by the microbiome.
The study is published online this week in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.
The researchers also found a relationship between gut microbial community and brain function.
They compared how the gut microbes of the people with low levels of Enterococci faecal bacteria in their intestines compared with those who had high levels.
The higher the level of Enterobacter faeces in the intestinal tract, the more activity the brain was getting from the insulate cortex.
“The more active the insulo-ponsilic cortex, the higher activity the insulated cortex was getting, which suggests that the gut is actually the site where we store a lot our information,” McLean added.
“Our results indicate that a gut microbiome that is enriched in Enterococcoid, and it’s probably not a coincidence that it’s a low-enteric environment, suggests that a microbiome that has been enriched in bacteria that cause illness in humans is also the environment that is most likely to be enriched in those who suffer from neurological diseases.”
The researchers plan to expand their study of the microbiome to examine brain function in other people, including children.
The findings are important, Fenton added, because it suggests that we should be thinking about the microbiome as a whole, not just in people who have a microbiome problem.
“A whole ecosystem that includes all the different microbes in the body can have a significant impact on a person’s health,” Fenter said.
This is important for developing more effective therapies for diseases like obesity and depression, which have been linked to poor microbiome composition.
Fenton is also looking at how gut microbes affect the brain’s ability to process information, as they do in autism spectrum disorders.
“I think the brain is a very complex organ and I think there’s really good evidence that it works well in a very limited environment,” he said.
Fenton said he hopes to continue his research on microbiome and autism, but said that for now, he doesn’t have a lot to look forward to.
“We are very excited about what we’ve found,” he added.
The Associated Press reported this story from San Francisco on Aug. 26, 2017.
Contact: Rebecca M. Lai, [email protected] 717-441-2157 or [email protected]