New research from MSU shows that a baby’s gut microbiome may contain traces that help control and support healthy neurological development.
Why do some babies respond more to perceived risk than others? According to a new study by Chapel Hill University, University of Michigan, University of Michigan, part of the answer can be found in an amazing place: the baby’s digestive system.
The human digestive system is home to a huge community of microorganisms known as the gut microbiome. The MSU-UNC research team found that the gut microbiome was different in infants with a strong fear response and in infants with milder reactions.
These fear responses of how someone reacts to a terrible situation can be indicators of future mental health in early life. And there is ample evidence that neurological well-being is linked to the gut microbiome.
New discoveries suggest that the gut microbiome may one day provide researchers and doctors with a new tool to monitor and support healthy neurological development.
“This early stage of development is a time of tremendous potential for promoting healthy brain development,” said Rebecca Knickmeier of MSU, lead author of a new study published in the June 2 issue of the journal. Nature communications. “Sterilization is an exciting new target that could potentially be used for that.”
His role in the animal’s response to the fear of his role prompted Knickmeier, an associate professor in the Department of Pediatrics and Human Development at the College of Human Medicine, and his team to look to humans. And it is important to study how people, especially young children, cope with fear, as it can, in some cases, help predict mental health.
“Fear reactions are a normal part of a child’s development. “Children need to be aware of the threats to their environment and be prepared to respond to them,” said Knikmayer, who also works at MSU’s Institute for Quantitative Health Science and Engineering, or IQ. “But if they can not mitigate that response when they are safe, they may be at greater risk of developing anxiety and depression in the future.”
At the other end of the spectrum, children with exclusively dumb fear responses may develop indirect, non-emotional traits associated with antisocial behavior, Nickmayer said.
To determine if the gut microbiome was linked to a fear response in humans, Knikmayer և and his staff conducted a pilot study involving about 30 newborns. The researchers carefully selected this group to keep as many factors that affect the gut microbiome as possible. For example, all babies were breastfed և no one took antibiotics.
The researchers then described the baby’s microbiome by analyzing stool patterns, assessing the baby’s fear response using a simple test to see how the baby reacts to a person wearing a Halloween mask.
“We really wanted the experience to be enjoyable for both the children and their parents. “The parents were there all the time. They could jump in whenever they wanted,” Nickmeyer said. “These are really the experiences that children would have in their daily lives.”
Compiling all the data, the researchers found significant links between the characteristics of the gut microbiome ուժ the strength of the infant’s fear response և.
For example, children with unequal microbiome at 1 month of age were more frightened at 1 year of age. Unequal microbiomes are dominated by a small group of bacteria, while even microbiomes are more balanced.
The researchers also found that the content of the bacteriological community at age 1 was associated with a fear response. Compared to less frightened babies, high-response infants had more of some types of bacteria and others had fewer.
However, the team did not notice a link between the children’s intestinal microbiome and how children react to strangers who do not wear masks. Knkimayer said this was most likely due to different parts of the brain involved in developing potentially frightening situations.
“There is a social element with strangers. “Thus, children may have social competence, but they do not see strangers as an immediate threat,” Nickmayer said. “When children see a mask, they do not consider it social. It’s part of that quick, dirty assessment of the brain. ”
The team also imaged the children’s brains using MRI technology. They found that the contents of the bacteriological community at one year were related to the size of the amygdala, a part of the brain involved in making rapid decisions about potential threats.
Connecting the dots suggests that sterilization may affect how the amygdala develops. This is one of the many exciting opportunities that this new study team is currently working on. Knickmeyer is also planning to start new research paths with new collaborations on IQ, asking new questions that are inspiring to answer.
“We have a great opportunity to support neurological health early on,” he said. “Our long-term goal is to learn what we can do to promote healthy growth and development.”