GUT BACTERIA MAY CAUSE, AND CURE, SOCIAL MISBEHAVIORS


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Your microbiome – the ecosystem of bacteria living in your intestines – has been found to regulate mood and behavior disorders by the signals it sends up the vagus nerve that leads from the gut to the brain.
Specifically, researchers at Baylor University’s medical school have parsed the microbiome to discover that certain kinds of abnormal behavior are caused by the interplay of genes and those bacteria.
Using mice whose genes and microbiomes had been altered for experiments, the team found that hyperactivity is a genetic disorder, while a range of other mood disorders and negative social behavior are a result of “bad” bacteria triumphing over the beneficial in your digestive tract.
To defeat the bad bugs, the scientists added molecules called biopterins into the mice’s digestive systems. The addition improved their social functioning, and so did molecules that fostered the creation of gut biopterins.
Biopterins are involved in creating dopamine and serotonin, feel-good chemicals that boost mood and relaxation.
Several yogurt brands contain a bacterium called l. reuteri, which the scientists found helpful in nurturing biopterins.  
TRENDPOST: An Italian study is underway to treat children with autism with l. reuteri to see if the gut bacterium eases symptoms.
The microbiome is medical science’s new research frontier. Investigators are finding links between the microbiome and disorders from depression to cancer. 
Microbiome research will attract increasing attention and chalk up a range of successes by 2030, rendering a number of chronic conditions treatable by diet instead of drugs.

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