Do the Bacteria in Your Gut Also Influence Your Mind?

Last year, we put out a podcast called “The Power of Poop,” which looked at the use of fecal transplants (a.k.a. “transpoosions”) to treat everything from multiple sclerosis to Parkinson’s disease. A fascinating Scientific American article explores how gut bacteria may have even further-reaching functions:

In the past few years scientists have been discovering that these microscopic inhabitants of our body may be subtly altering our moods, emotions and perhaps even our personalities. Gut microbiota appear to alter gene activity in the brain and the development of key regions involved in memory and learning. These denizens of our intestines could help explain why psychiatric symptoms vary among individuals, as well as their responses to medications. Gut microbes could also account for some of the differences in mood, personality and thought processes that occur within and among individuals.

(HT: Market Design)

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COMMENTS: 8


  1. Sid says:

    This documentary also looks at the link between gut bacteria and autism.

    http://www.cbc.ca/natureofthings/episode/autism-enigma.html

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  2. Eric M. Jones. says:

    I can think of people I’d take a transplant from…but it’s none of YOU guys.

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  3. Quinton says:

    The Radiolab podcast “Parasites” might just blow your mind. Long story short: Something might be up with cat ladies

    http://www.radiolab.org/2009/sep/07/

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  4. Enter your name... says:

    Haven’t medical professionals been saying this for thousands of years? The idea that a person’s “digestion” affected his mood and personality was a major theme of medical treatises in the pre-modern era.

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  5. Heraklit says:

    …are your really doubting the difference between body and soul? Do you even doubt, there is something like a soul? I think, before you go on this way, you should discuss this with you local clergyman ;-)

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  6. A.R.Yngve says:

    So THAT’s why people write fantasy stories with cats as characters and keep posting pictures of cats on the Internet… toxoplasmosis is to blame. (I’m only half joking.)

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  7. Meku says:

    A goat head has worms… I guess the same applies to humans when it comes to mood swings.

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  8. Hank Phillips says:

    You guys do really good work. I have been enjoying it for years now. I am especially impressed that one of you can do good voice talent. I sure wish I knew how. Cheerfully,

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