The gut-brain axis
The ability of the gut microbiota to communicate with the brain is a new, rapidly growing research field, resulting in promising discoveries relating to health and disease. During the Mind, Mood & Microbes conference, the latest knowledge in this field will be presented and attempts will be made to convert this knowledge into applications in clinical practice.
Mounting evidence suggests that there is two-way communication between the gut microbiota and the brain. We know for a while that the brain affects the intestines. However, a new discovery is that the gut microbiota seems to help shape neural development, brain biochemistry and behaviour. Preclinical research has shown that the gut microbiota can affect the central nervous system via neural, hormonal, metabolic and immunological routes. The results of the first studies among humans into the potential of microbiota management to promote a healthy brain function are promising. The microbiota-gut-brain axis is a very new field. Many things are still unknown how the microbiota affects the brain function. If people succeed in unravelling only a fraction of this field over the coming years, the microbiota-gut-brain axis may become a promising target for influencing mood and behaviour, for instance in people with anxiety disorders and depression, but also in the prevention of conditions such as Parkinson’s, Alzheimer’s, schizophrenia and autism.