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Science Snippet: Intestinal Biome and Your Brain

Your gut bacteria and other tiny organisms such as bacteria, viruses and fungi make up what scientists call the intestinal “biome,” which is defined as a large community of organisms living in a defined area. There is solid evidence that linkage exists between the nature of the contents of the biome and brain function. In other words, what’s in your gut can influence your behavior or mental state. Although it has long been known that certain kinds of bacteria found in the lining of the gut plays a role in the status of the immune system, now there is tantalizing evidence that specific kinds of bacteria found in the gut and mouth may be linked to schizophrenia. A team of scientists at George Washington University assayed the mouth bacteria of 32 individuals, half of whom had schizophrenia. Those with schizophrenia had 400 times more lactic acid bacteria in the mouth than the normal individuals. This finding is new to science, and obviously much more research needs to be done to test the theory that the linkage between the brain and the gut biome plays a role in initiating certain disease states. (ncbi.nlm.nih.gov; neurosciencenews.com, Aug. 25, 2015; newsweek.com/tech-science; Wired Magazine, 2016, January issue; The Week, Sept. 18, 2025; other sources)

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