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Gut bacteria may influence anxiety-like behaviors

Gorkha Post

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Scientists in Cork have shed a new light on how gut bacteria may influence behavior associated with anxiety and fear.

Investigating the link between gut bacteria and biological molecules called microRNAs (miRNAs) in the brain; researchers at the APC Microbiome Institute at University College Cork, funded by Science Foundation Ireland, found that a significant number of miRNAs were changed in the brains of microbe-free mice, according to a study published in the open access journal Microbiome.

These mice are reared in a germ-free bubble and typically display abnormal anxiety, deficits in sociability and cognition, and increased depressive-like behaviors.

The discovery relates to gene regulators called microRNAs — their dysfunction in the brain is believed to be a key factor in anxiety-type illnesses and depression.

“The extent, and the manner, of this dialogue is made clear in [THE]research, revealing a new level of communication between the gut microbiome and the brain,” the scientists said.

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They found that miRNAs were changed in the brains of microbe-free mice. These mice were reared in a germ-free bubble and displayed abnormal anxiety, deficits in sociability and cognition, and increased depressive-like behaviours.

“Gut microbes seem to influence miRNAs in the amygdala and the prefrontal cortex. This is important because these miRNAs may affect physiological processes that are fundamental to the functioning of the central nervous system and in brain regions, such as the amygdala and prefrontal cortex, which are heavily implicated in anxiety and depression,” said Dr Gerard Clarke, one of the corresponding authors of the research.

Gut microbes seem to influence miRNAs in two specific parts of the brain, explained Dr Clarke.

“This is important because these miRNAs may affect physiological processes that are fundamental to the functioning of the central nervous system and in brain regions which are heavily implicated in anxiety and depression.”

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The findings suggest that a healthy microbiome is necessary for appropriate regulation of miRNAs in these brain regions.

Previous research demonstrated that manipulation of the gut microbiome affects anxiety-like behaviors but this is the first time that the gut microbiome has been linked to miRNAs in both the amygdala and prefrontal cortex, according to the authors.

The research was carried out by Dr Gerard Clarke, Prof John Cryan and PhD student Alan Hoban.

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Health

Red meat, white bread and sugar-laden drinks might increase risk of colon cancer

Raghu Kshitiz

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Heavy diet like red meats, refined grains, white bread and sugar-laden drinks might increase long-term risk of colon cancer, a new study suggests.

These foods all increase inflammation in our body, and the inflammation they cause is associated with a higher chance of developing colon cancer, according to pooled data from two major health studies appeared in JAMA Oncology journal.

According to researchers, a diet high in foods with the potential to cause inflammation, including meats, refined grains and high-calorie beverages, was associated with increased risk of developing colorectal cancer for men and women.

Basically, what makes for a healthy diet overall also appears to promote a cancer-free colon, said senior researcher Dr. Edward Giovannucci. He is a professor of nutrition and epidemiology at Harvard TH Chan School of Public Health in Boston.

“It’s consistent with what we already recommend for a healthy diet in general,” Giovannucci said, adding “I see that as good news. We’re supporting the current evidence, and not telling people to do something completely different from what they’ve been told.”

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For the study, conducted by Fred K Tabung from the Harvard TH Chan School of Public Health in Boston, the team analysed 1,21,050 male and female health care professionals, who were followed for 26 years in long-term studies. The researchers completed the food questionnaires about what they ate, on the basis of which data analysis was done last year.

The scores were based on 18 food groups characterised for their inflammatory potential and were then calculated from the questionnaires given to participants every four years.

The results indicated that higher scores reflecting inflammation-causing diets were associated with a higher risk of developing colorectal cancer in men and women.

Previous studies have linked diet factors with colon cancer, but there’s been no clear explanation why that might be, he added.

With Agency Inputs

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