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Just picked up the April issue of Psychology Today. Pg. 40 "The Psychobiotic Revolution". "It may be possible to relieve anxiety and depression solely by manipulating bacteria in the gut." "Recently, he coined a term for the live organisms in the gut that are psychoactive and of potential benefit to those suffering from a variety of psychiatric illnesses - psychobiotics." (Yeah, they are just probiotics...) Some interesting info: A cocktail of Lactobacillus helveticus and Bifidobacterium longum was found to reduce cortisol levels and curb inflammation. Gut microbes that actively secrete GABA are Lactobacillus and Bifidobacterium. (Lack of GABA in the brain may bring on the negative ruminations long linked with depression.) Bifidobacterium infantis as a probiotic alters levels of serotonin - just like Prozac. Lactobacillus reuteri, delivered in either yogurt or supplement form, improves mood, appearance, and general health by increasing levels of oxytocin. B. infantis, L. reuteri and several other strains work throughout the immune system by attacking inflammation, a hallmark of depression. Lactobacillus rhamnosus reduces anxiety and depression and beefs up production of GABA receptors. B. infantis and L. reuteri work on the immune system, where they suppress proinflammatory cytokines. HERE's what makes me aggravated about this article. Instead of encouraging probiotic use NOW, they talk about these "therapeutic psychobiotics being a long way from reaching the market", but that you can still eat yogurt and fermented foods. They say that most probiotics don't make it past our stomach acid - but this article is from Psychology Today, so I'm sure it's not "Pharmaceutically Correct" to push anything that is already out there on the market. Sorry, but I'm fully aware that most research is paid for by the pharmaceutical companies, and they want to get their money grubbing paws on this. All of the microbes listed are in probiotics I have here in my refrigerator, and some of them are specifically made to get to the gut. That rant being said, I'm just glad that psychiatry is starting to see the light of day! Finally realizing that the brain is actually attached to our bodies, and affected by them! Hoorah! Since I pretty much typed out the whole article, I guess I should give the author credit! Thank you, Jordan Davidson.
New study abstract (July 3, 2013) is below. Full research here. Discussion article here. Reduced Incidence of Prevotella and Other Fermenters in Intestinal Microflora of Autistic ChildrenHigh proportions of autistic children suffer from gastrointestinal (GI) disorders, implying a link between autism and abnormalities in gut microbial functions. Increasing evidence from recent high-throughput sequencing analyses indicates that disturbances in composition and diversity of gut microbiome are associated with various disease conditions. However, microbiome-level studies on autism are limited and mostly focused on pathogenic bacteria. Therefore, here we aimed to define systemic changes in gut microbiome associated with autism and autism-related GI problems. We recruited 20 neurotypical and 20 autistic children accompanied by a survey of both autistic severity and GI symptoms. By pyrosequencing the V2/V3 regions in bacterial 16S rDNA from fecal DNA samples, we compared gut microbiomes of GI symptom-free neurotypical children with those of autistic children mostly presenting GI symptoms. Unexpectedly, the presence of autistic symptoms, rather than the severity of GI symptoms, was associated with less diverse gut microbiomes. Further, rigorous statistical tests with multiple testing corrections showed significantly lower abundances of the genera Prevotella,Coprococcus, and unclassified Veillonellaceae in autistic samples. These are intriguingly versatile carbohydrate-degrading and/or fermenting bacteria, suggesting a potential influence of unusual diet patterns observed in autistic children. However, multivariate analyses showed that autism-related changes in both overall diversity and individual genus abundances were correlated with the presence of autistic symptoms but not with their diet patterns. Taken together, autism and accompanying GI symptoms were characterized by distinct and less diverse gut microbial compositions with lower levels of Prevotella, Coprococcus, and unclassified Veillonellaceae.