Preventing PTSD with Gut Microbes
Considering all the effort that has gone into developing cures for PTSD (post-traumatic stress disorder), it might surprise some circles to learn that not only has medical science discovered a potential cure for the ailment, but they might have figured out a way of preventing PTSD altogether.
According to researchers from the McMaster University in Canada, the key lies in gut microbes, with the results of their studies providing new methods for preventing other mental disorders such as depression.
These potential cures and preventative methodologies were discovered after experimental and clinical data on mice was collected and analyzed, revealing that imbalances in the creatures’ gut bacteria could actually impact their mood and demeanor.
Such research is bound to pique the interest of any organizations and individuals that have been investing in the treatment of soldiers with PTSD, essentially proving that gut microbes actually have a notable role to play in the way the human body responds to stressful situations.
The human digestive tract is home to microbes in the trillions. Without these microbes, human beings wouldn’t be able to digest food or even defend against disease.
In trying to understand the link between microbes in the gut and stress, the researchers took smaller mice and exposed them to their larger, more aggressive counterparts for a few minutes at a time over a period of ten days.
Over time, these scenarios caused the mice in question to develop anxiety, showing signs of stress such as a loss of appetite and nervous trembling. By comparing the feces of these anxious mice to their calmer counterparts, the researchers observed an imbalance in the gut microbiota of the stressed mice.
The research team then fed the stressed mice with live bacteria collected from the fecal material of calm mice. Upon analyzing fecal material from the stressed mice at a later date, the team noted changes in the mice’s brain chemistry.
There was a notable change in behavior. Over the next few weeks, the mice continued to show signs of improvement.
Additional research (published in The Canadian Journal of Psychiatry) suggested that individuals who experienced an imbalance in gut microbiota during their early years were more susceptible to conditions like PTSD.
This suggests that medical experts might be able to determine which soldiers have a higher risk of developing PTSD, this allowing for the deployment of treatment or prevention tactics. Additional research is already commencing to determine whether new methods of treating PTSD can be elicited from the research.