Gut’s Up Doc?

Is there a mind-tummy … connection?

This is Sandra Tsing Loh with the Loh Down on Science.

The right balance of bacteria in our stomachs is important – even before we’re born! By interacting with the nerves, these bacteria help our brains develop properly! Could they also help prevent brain injuries in premature newborns?  

Enter David Seki of the University of Vienna, Austria and an international team. 

They followed over fifty premature babies during their hospital stay. The researchers extracted DNA from stool samples and identified the bacteria present. They also determined the babies’ brain health using MRI and ultrasound. 

Results? Babies with healthy brains had a balance of many different bacteria compared to those without. Babies with brain injury showed an excess of a type of gut bacteria called Klebsiella. The researchers think overgrown Klebsiella can lead to an overactive immune system. And this can cause brain injuries in preemies! 

While more research is needed, understanding more about gut bacteria may be the key to growing healthy brains!

So trust your gut. Your brain will thank you!

Reference: Seki, D., Mayer, M., Hausmann, B., Pjevac, P., Giordano, V., Goeral, K., Unterasinger, L., Klebermaß-Schrehof, K., De Paepe, K., Van de Wiele, T., Spittler, A., Kasprian, G., Warth, B., Berger, A., Berry, D., & Wisgrill, L. (2021). Aberrant gut-microbiota-immune-brain axis development in premature neonates with brain damage. Cell Host & Microbe.

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