24 Jun Gut Microbiome May Influence Our Behavior and Long Term Memory
Medical Research: What is the background for this study?
Dr. Magnusson: There is increasing evidence that the gut microbiome can communicate with our brain. Others had also shown that high-energy diets could alter the composition of the gut microbiome (i.e., shift the percentages of different bacteria within the population) and could alter cognitive function. We decided to use that dietary model to determine whether there was a relationship between the bacterial changes and the behavioral changes.
Medical Research: What are the main findings?
Dr. Magnusson: We found decreases in Bacteroidales and increases in Clostridiales orders of bacteria, similar to that seen in obese humans and animals on high energy diets. We also found problems with early learning for long-term memory, with delayed short-term memory and with cognitive flexibility, the ability to adapt to new rules and changing conditions. The alterations in Bacteroidales and Clostridiales showed a relationship to this decline in cognitive flexibility.
Medical Research: What should clinicians and patients take away from your report?
Dr. Magnusson: When you consume high-energy diets, it’s not just about the food directly affecting your brain and body. These diets also alter the bacterial populations within your gut, which may contribute to the negative effects on your brain and other body systems.
Medical Research: What recommendations do you have for future research as a result of this study?
Dr. Magnusson: We need to understand better how these specific bacteria communicate with the brain, how that communication affects the body and whether it benefits the microbes, and whether we can manipulate the microbiome to obtain better, long-term behavioral outcomes.
K.R. Magnusson, L. Hauck, B.M. Jeffrey, V. Elias, A. Humphrey, R. Nath, A. Perrone, L.E. Bermudez. Relationships between diet-related changes in the gut microbiome and cognitive flexibility. Neuroscience, 2015; 300: 128 DOI: 10.1016/j.neuroscience.2015.05.016
Kathy Magnusson D.V.M., Ph.D Professor, Oregon State College of Veterinary Medicine, & Principal Investigator with the Linus Pauling Institute (2015). Gut Microbiome May Influence Our Behavior and Long Term Memory