Health – End of the year celebrations constitute an ordeal for some. For people with social anxiety disorder, these moments are actually among the most difficult to get through. If the origin of these problems is still not clearly defined and appears to be a combination of several factors, then a new element has just been discovered.
A study published December 26 in the journal With people It suggests that the microbes that make up the gut flora are a factor that can cause social anxiety. Scientists have discovered that the gut microbiome (the collection of bacteria and other organisms that live in the digestive tract) is not the same in people with social anxiety disorder compared to those without it.
This finding reflects a whole field of current research, which highlights the impact of the gut microbiome. For example, some studies have found that these microbes can affect the brain, and vice versa.
Anxiety, mice and poop
To conduct this study, Dr. John Cryan and colleagues from the University of Cork in Ireland took stool samples from six healthy people and six people with autism spectrum disorder. DNA analyzes confirmed that the gut microbiome differed significantly between the two groups.
To prove the connection between these microscopic life forms and these health problems, the researchers tried to make mice socially anxious. More precisely, they transplanted some of the microorganisms into mice, after first killing the intestinal microbes with antibiotics.
The mice then underwent various tests to analyze their behavior. The results revealed that mice that received gut microbes from people with autism had different levels of three bacterial species in their feces compared to those that received gut microbes from healthy people.
The importance of the microbiome
While the mice carrying gut microbes from healthy people quickly regained their curiosity toward strangers in the following days, the mice carrying gut microbes from people with autism continued to be afraid of approaching other mice. “They never fully recovered to be able to be social again.”Announce the world in guardian.
Further analysis indicated that levels of some hormones and aspects of the immune system also differed between mice. This is not the first time this type of experience has occurred. This study builds on other work showing similar results for conditions such as depression or irritable bowel syndrome.
“The key point is that we need to nurture our microbiome, especially throughout development and into adulthood, for the social brain to function properly.”Professor John Cryan said.
This new discovery offers new approaches when it comes to developing treatments for people with autism spectrum disorder (ASD). The new course of action is actually to include diets designed to modify the microbiome.
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