Sunday, January 6, 2013

Bacteria Do Mind Control On Their Hosts.


Here I have cut and paste extracts from various sites. The sites are linked below the extracts. I have used bold text, underlines and italics to highlight the points I want to make. Otherwise, the content has not been touched. Certain complete statements have been juxtaposed for efficient usage of space. This conceals gaps in the narrative, as a visit to the link will reveal. These gaps could not be depicted here. Always check with the original post if there is any doubt about whatever is presented here. Reading Resources were linked in a previous post. 
"What has been observed in humans with regard to obesity is that there seems to be a difference in the number of kinds of bacteria in the gut," said Rob Knight of the University of Colorado, Boulder. "That number is much lower in obese people than in healthy people."
Researchers have also seen differences in bacteria between mice bred to be obese versus those of normal weight. In one experiment, researchers found that an obese mouse's gut microbes extracted more of the calories from a given parcel of food than did those of non-obese mice.
This caused the obese mice to gain more body fat than the non-obese mice did.
But even stranger, in a type of mouse with a different mutation that leads to obesity, transferring gut microbes from the obese mice into other mice led the non-obese mice to eat more.
"They're not any better at extracting energy from the food. They're just hungrier apparently," Knight said. "There are more microbial cells in your body than there are brain cells. They may be outvoting you when it comes time to order (at the restaurant)."
If gut microbes can tell mouse brains to eat more, could they have other effects on the brain? Researchers are finding that the answer is yes. 

"The exciting angle to this new study by Cosava et al has shown that it is not just the type of gut bacteria present that leads to increased fat storage but that the obese bacteria gut profile leads to changes in intestinal nutrient sensors and gut peptides, such as ghrelincholecystokininglucagon-like peptide 1 and peptide YY, that are involved in regulating appetite. In fact increases in ghrelin have been shown to increase the appeal of high calorie foods so this may explain why some people choose chocolate cake over salad – it’s not just all in the mind! Cosava’s study is yet to be formalised in humans but it shows that gut bacteria are likely to influence not just physiological reasons why some people gain weight but also what drives some people to overeat and have uncontrolled appetites, thus making weight loss so difficult."
"Gut bacteria could 'control' our urge to eat too much - and even make us anxious until we give in and have a snack, says a University of Colorado bacteria expert. 
Obese people have different bacteria in their guts than others. Those they have consume more energy - and may prompt their 'hosts' to do the same.
'They're not any better at extracting energy from the food. They're just hungrier apparently,' said Rob Knight of the University of Colorado.
'There are more microbial cells in your body than there are brain cells. They may be outvoting you when it comes time to order at the restaurant.
'What has been observed in humans with regard to obesity is that there seems to be a difference in the number of kinds of bacteria in the gut. That number is much lower in obese people than in healthy people.''

"A new study has found evidence suggesting that you are not what you eat, so much as you are what's living in your gut.
this new study is the first to extensively evaluate the influence of gut bacteria on the biochemistry and development of the brain. The scientists raised mice lacking normal gut microflora, then compared their behavior, brain chemistry and brain development to mice having normal gut bacteria. The microbe-free animals were more active and, in specific behavioral tests, were less anxious than microbe-colonized mice.
In one test of anxiety, animals were given the choice of staying in the relative safety of a dark box, or of venturing into a lighted box. Bacteria-free animals spent significantly more time in the light box than their bacterially colonized littermates. Similarly, in another test of anxiety, animals were given the choice of venturing out on an elevated and unprotected bar to explore their environment, or remain in the relative safety of a similar bar protected by enclosing walls. Once again, the microbe-free animals proved themselves bolder than their colonized kin ...
Consistent with these behavioral findings, two genes implicated in anxiety -- nerve growth factor-inducible clone A (NGF1-A) and brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) -- were found to be down-regulated in multiple brain regions in the germ-free animals ...
When Pettersson's team performed a comprehensive gene expression analysis of five different brain regions, they found nearly 40 genes that were affected by the presence of gut bacteria. Not only were these primitive microbes able to influence signaling between nerve cells while sequestered far away in the gut, they had the astonishing ability to influence whether brain cells turn on or off specific genes.

 The Scientific American story quoted above makes it sound like normal gut bacteria are, on the whole, kind of cramping the brain's style. Given the evidence that exists about healthy gut bacteria's importance to maintaining other aspects of physical health, I'm curious whether this study implies that we humans have accepted a bit of a trade off. We get gut bacteria that help us digest food and train our immune systems—but we loose some control over how our brains function, possibly to our detriment, but possibly not, depending on the circumstances. 

" From “gut feelings” to “having some guts”, English is full of phrases where our bowels exert an influence upon our behaviour. But these are more than metaphors. There are open lines of communication between brains and bowels and, in mice at least, these channels allow an individual’s gut bacteria to steer their behaviour.
It may seem odd that bacteria in an animal’s gut can control what happens in its brain, on the other side of the body. But the two organs have a direct line between them – the long, branching vagus nerve, which transmits information from the gut and other visceral organs to the brain. When Bravo severed the vagus nerve in his mice, Lactobacillus lost all of its influence. It changed neither the rodents’ behaviour nor their GABA receptor levels.
Bravo’s study is the latest in an accumulating body of evidence showing that gut bacteria are little backseat drivers for their hosts. Earlier this year, I wrote about work from Rochellys Diaz Heijtz at the Karolinska Institute, who showed that germ-free mice without any gut bacteria behave differently to mice with a normal complement. They were more active, less anxious and more likely to take risks. And when Heijtz transplanted the gut bugs from normal mice into sterile babies, the recipients behaved in the usual cautious way when they grew up. A few months later, a Canadian team led by Karen-Anne Neufeld found similar results.
The fact that doses of gut bacteria can change adult behaviour has important implications. John Cryan, who led the study, says, “It is highly plausible that probiotic agents in the future could be used to treat mood and anxiety disorders.” After all, his study has shown that these bacteria play around with the same brain chemicals in the brain that antidepressants and anti-anxiety drugs do.
This doesn’t mean that eating a lot of yoghurt will sort out a bout of depression. The idea of using gut bacteria to treat disorders isn’t far-fetched; after all, some doctors have already managed to treat people with gut infections by giving them “faecal transplants”. However, when it comes to the brain, the science is still in its early days.
Bravo still doesn’t know how the bacteria use the vagus nerve to influence the brain, only that they do. Nor does he know how long the effects on GABA and behaviour would last, or how the microbes affect other chemical signals within the brain. And critically, all of these experiments have been done in mice. No one knows if the same thing applies to humans.
We have no reason to expect that the same would not apply to humans,” says Cryan. “However, such clinical studies need to be carried out.”


  1. hi there, you really get going on this stuff.
    came here via sott-forum.
    I posted there some thoughts that go the same direction as your research does, albeit it was a comment concerning the article "smoking as antidote for zombies" or something like this.
    I just mentioned that smoking can possibly work as an mental/behavioral pestizide kind of thing (actually medicine by poison)
    like tobacco is used against bugs on plants.
    Anyway, nobody seemed to pick up the view /Idea.
    Everybody was ranting on the prohibition and social engeneering stuff.
    Second thing to mention here is my own experience with root canals and bacteria.
    Kind of easy reading about that at the Weston Price Foundation. Most dentists seem to be functioning as portals or so it seems.
    Getting inflamed roots and metals out of my head made a difference beyond imagination.
    I am no native english speaker, pls bear with that.
    silent noise

    1. Hi, I understand you completely. Tobacco, now, only feeds the dark side and gives bacteria and fungi to your head. The latter thrive in the body. Long time, smoking was a good thing, not now.Nicotine mimics the action of an enzyme that enhances memory. Smoking is too high a price to pay for that benefit. I have dental problems..mercury and bacteria. Hoping for the greater clarity!

      Nice to hear from you! Always remember....There is always something important where the mind does not want to go!

  2. Greetings, There's no doubt that your website may be having internet browser compatibility issues. When I take a look at your web site in Safari, it looks fine however, when opening in I.E., it has some overlapping issues. I merely wanted to give you a quick heads up! Other than that, wonderful blog!

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    1. Thanks for the heads up! I use Firefox for all internet browsing. I.E seems OK from my end of things! I will keep an eye out for how I.E. displays.

      I looked at your site. Interesting info. I probably will do something re obesity in a few weeks!

      Thanks again!

    2. I just noticed overlap on Mozilla. Seems I have to resize those diagrams in my last post.

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