Biology

Readings

Costandi, M. (2012). Microbes on your mind. Scientific American Mind, 23(3), 32-37. Retrieved from http://www.sciam.com

The article offers information on the role played by the microorganisms on the moods and thought processing of the human brain. It states that composed mostly of bacteria but also viruses and fungi, the so-called gut microbiota churns out a complex cocktail of biologically active compounds. It mentions that gut microbes could also account for some of the differences in mood, personality and thought processes that occur within and among individuals.

Foster, J.A. (2013). Gut feelings: Bacteria and the brain. Cerebrum, 2013(Jul-Aug). Retrieved from http://www.dana.org/

The gut-brain axis—an imaginary line between the brain and the gut—is one of the new frontiers of neuroscience. Microbiota in our gut, sometimes referred to as the “second genome” or the “second brain,” may influence our mood in ways that scientists are just now beginning to understand. Unlike with inherited genes, it may be possible to reshape, or even to cultivate, this second genome. As research evolves from mice to people, further understanding of microbiota’s relationship to the human brain could have significant mental health implications.

Hurley, D. (2011). Your backup brain. Psychology Today, 44(6), 80-86. Retrieved from http://www.psychologytoday.com/

The article offers facts about the enteric nervous system (ENS), which is also known as the gut’s brain. According to professor Michael Gershon, the gut can work independently and it functions as a second brain. Several functions of the gut include taking in external matter, breaking it down to its component parts and transporting it to various internal organs. Details of a study that examined the influence of food on mood and behavior are discussed.

Kohn, D. (2015). When gut bacteria changes brain function. The Atlantic. Retrieved from http://www.theatlantic.com/

Sanders, L. (2016). Microbes and the mind. Science News, 189(7), 22-25. Retrieved from http://www.sciencenews.org/

The article focuses on the potential benefits of human microbes, also known as microbiome, in mental health. Topics include the results of studies which show how the bacteria living in the gut can change brain activity, the presence of microbes in humans and the interaction of human and bacterial cells, and the study by John Cryan and colleagues which observes how microbes influence the brain that could lead to the development of bacteria-based drugs called psychobiotics.

Schmidt, C. (2015). Mental health may depend on creatures in the gut. Scientific American. Retrieved from http://www.scientificamerican.com/

Schmidt, C. (2015). Thinking from the gut. Scientific American, 312(3), 12-15. Retrieved from http://www.sciam.com/

The article considers how a better understanding of the relationship between the mind and microbes that live in the gut could one day produce a new class of psychobiotic drugs for treating disorders such as anxiety and depression. Information is presented about the work of several researchers including internal-medicine professor Nobuyuki Sudo, microbiologist Premsyl Bercik, and neuroscientist Paul Patterson.

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