A new mouse study suggests that gut bacteria may talk to the brain. In a new study from the University of Cambridge, mice were injected with a protein designed to silence the production of bacteria in their systems. The mice responded to verbal directions to eat, drink and reach towards a water container. The scientists followed up with an experiment where they injected a control group with a protein that caused the same effect in gut bacteria as the verbal instructions, but without the need to literally give the animals verbal instructions.
This should assist in learning more about gut bacteria and mental health.
This is all very interesting. But how could this have been determined? The researchers showed videos of the action to a group of people and asked them to watch the video while they ate, drank and reached for a treat. The video showed two identical frames-one from the verbal instructions and one from the nonverbal video. The results showed a significant difference between the two frames.
When the animals heard the voice telling them to eat, they reached for the bottle, but when they heard no voice telling them to reach, they simply continued to eat. They didn’t seem to follow the voice at all. It’s not clear whether this is because they weren’t listening to the sound of the voice, or because they couldn’t hear the sound of the voice. Either way, it means that it was their gut bacteria doing the talking.
Does this mean that gut bacteria can actually influence our voices? It’s too soon to say, and we need more research to determine if it’s truly the case. For now, the evidence is strong that it is. And the fact that the same bacteria is involved in both situations makes the possibility extremely likely.
Now, the big question is, how do you know if the voice you hear when you’re thirsty is your own? Unfortunately, the answer is, you don’t. Until recently, there was no way to test your own voice. You could have tested yourself by filling a container with water and pushing a button. However, this isn’t really practical. For one thing, it would take up your precious time that you might be spending instead going on a date with your significant other.
This is where the latest study solved the problem. Mice were placed in a special chamber and given water. When they heard their own voice, they ate less of the sweetened water. When they heard a strange voice, they avoided it. When the scientists inserted the bacteria into the mice, they found that it had an effect on their appetites.
Of course, there are still more questions to be answered about the effects of bacteria on the brain. For one, there may not be any correlation between the bacteria and memory loss or anything else. While the mice did consume less of the sweetened water, they ate just as much of the other type of food that they normally eat. Other experiments seem to indicate that the mice do not process information in the same way as humans do.
Still, the latest study has opened up a new line of research. How exactly does the presence of gut bacteria may affect the way we think? The scientists don’t yet know. For now, they can only conclude that the mice do process information the same way as us. However, they suggest further studies be done to see if this is indeed the case.
There are many theories out there about how our brains work. However, none of them appear to be true. All of them are theories, however. What makes these theories possible is the fact that there are certain chemicals and proteins that move across the membranes of neurons. This has been proven by the research of electron microscopy. When these compounds move from one cell to another, they bring along molecules with them that share the same structure.
One theory is that these molecules act as “talkers” for the nerve cells in the brain. The presence of bacteria may signal the brain to release hormones, perhaps something similar to the way that steroid hormones are released in our bodies when we are angry. In fact, the research may point to a new understanding of how anger affects our brains. This research also points to the possibility that the same process occurs in other areas aside from the brain.
The research may help us understand more about mental depletion, and other conditions. For example, if we can learn how the communication between neurons is affected in people with these diseases, maybe we can learn to treat them too. The results will be helpful to those in the study. If the research can be linked to the role of bacteria in the brain, maybe treating a few of these diseases could be just a matter of finding the right combinations.
Provided by Antonio Westley
Disclaimer: This article is meant to be seen as an overview of this subject and not a reflection of viewpoints or opinions as nothing is definitive. So, make sure to do your research and feel free to use this information at your own discretion.