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NCCIH Research Blog

Exploring the Gut Microbiome’s Connection to Human Behavior – Lecture by Dr. John Cryan

December 2, 2015

Linda Duffy, Ph.D., M.P.H.

Program Director

National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health

The gut microbiome may tell us more than previously thought. On October 6, John F. Cryan, Ph.D., Professor and Chair of the Department of Anatomy and Neuroscience at University College Cork, in Ireland, gave a lecture, “Towards Psychobiotics: The Microbiome as a Key Regulator of Brain and Behavior,” as part of the National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health’s (NCCIH) Integrative Medicine Research Lecture Series.

Dr. Cryan is an internationally recognized scientist in the exciting area of the interactions between gut microbes and the brain. He works closely with gastroenterologists, microbiologists, ecologists, and behavioral scientists in studying the various interactions and biological effects of the gut microbiome on human behavior. His current research interests include the neurobiological basis of stress-related disorders, depression, anxiety, and drug dependence.

One of Dr. Cryan’s exciting findings is that selected lactic acid-producing bacteria (probiotics) have been shown to release gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA). His work supports the ideas that chemical molecules from bacteria may be able to cross the blood-brain barrier, and microorganisms in the gut from bacteria may impact the sensory nerves that carry impulses to the cerebral cortex, effecting behavioral changes.

Brain-gut interactions may have far-reaching implications in human health and disease. NCCIH is dedicated to supporting research to advance our knowledge of probiotics and gut interactions with the brain.

Following the lecture, the NCCIH blog team sat down with Dr. Cryan for a brief Q and A. Watch it here:

Tags: Lectures


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