Author Interviews, Johns Hopkins, Microbiome, Probiotics, Schizophrenia / 10.04.2017

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Emily G. Severance PhD Stanley Division of Developmental Neurovirology Department of Pediatrics Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine Baltimore, MD 21287 MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: Previously, we found that people with schizophrenia and bipolar disorder had an increased susceptibility to Candida albicans yeast infections, which was sex specific and associated with memory deficits. Also in an earlier placebo-controlled probiotic study, we found that although probiotics improved the overall bowel function of people with schizophrenia, there was no effect by this treatment on psychiatric symptoms.  Given that C. albicans infections can upset the dynamics of the human microbiome, we decided to re-evaluate the potential benefit of probiotics in the context of a patient’s C. albicans yeast status.  Not only was bowel function again enhanced following intake of probiotics, but yeast antibody levels were decreased by this treatment. Furthermore, psychiatric symptoms were actually improved over time for men receiving probiotics who did not have elevated C. albicans antibodies. Men who were positive for C. albicans exposure, however, consistently presented with worse psychiatric symptoms irrespective of probiotic or placebo treatment.
Author Interviews, Bipolar Disorder, Infections, Johns Hopkins, Mental Health Research, Microbiome, Schizophrenia / 05.05.2016

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: [caption id="attachment_24088" align="alignleft" width="120"]Emily G. Severance, Ph.D Stanley Division of Developmental Neurovirology Department of Pediatrics Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine Baltimore, MD Dr. Emily Severance[/caption] Emily G. Severance, Ph.D Stanley Division of Developmental Neurovirology Department of Pediatrics Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine Baltimore, MD  MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Dr. Severance: This research stems in part from anecdotal dialogues that we had with people with psychiatric disorders and their families, and repeatedly the issue of yeast infections came up. We found that Candida overgrowth was more prevalent in people with mental illness compared to those without psychiatric disorders and the patterns that we observed occurred in a surprisingly sex-specific manner.  The levels of IgG antibodies directed against the Candida albicans were elevated in males with schizophrenia and bipolar disorder compared to controls. In females, there were no differences in antibody levels between these groups, but in women with mental illness who had high amounts of these antibodies, we found significant memory deficits compared to those without evidence of past infection.