Really good, easy-to-understand and absolutely fascinating article giving an overview of recent research connecting the gut and the brain.

The narrative review by Cassandra Willyard in Nature looks at research on the gut-brain axis from various academic institutions around the world.

In particular, the article looks at the evidence for gut microbes perhaps "driving" brain disorders.

According to the article, recent research (in mice and preliminary research in humans) suggests that microbes could potentially "trigger or alter the course of conditions such as Parkinson’s disease" and more.

Other researchers are looking at possible links between the gut microbiome and Alzheimer's disease, depression and even to see if gut microbes can influence how the brain recovers after injury.

The exact connections between the gut and the brain are not yet clear, but it is possible that the vagus nerve could be involved. The vagus nerve is a kind of signal carrying "highway" that connects the brainstem to many organs including the gut.

According to this article, "research in humans and animals suggests that it has a crucial role in ferrying at least some messages between the gut and the brain."

Fascinating stuff!

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Science reference:

Nature 590, 22-25 (2021) doi: https://doi.org/10.1038/d41586-021-00260-3

https://www.nature.com/articles/d41586-021-00260-3

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