October 16th, 2016
Contributing writer for Wake Up World
A new study in the journal Cell Reports has established that antibiotics strong enough to kill off gut bacteria also halt the growth of new brain cells located in the hippocampus — the region of the brain responsible for memory. “We found prolonged antibiotic treatment might impact brain function,” says senior author Susanne Asu Wolf of the Max-Delbrueck-Center for Molecular Medicine in Berlin, Germany. And the researchers think they know why — in short, a unique white blood cell that functions as a go-between for the brain, immune system and gut. The good news is the team also discovered two remedies which can reverse the damage.
How the Gut Affects Memory and Brain Health
In the study, the researchers gave mice enough antibiotics to nearly destroy all intestinal microbes. When compared to the control mice, those who lost their healthy bacteria performed worse in memory tests, and the production of new brain cells (neurogenesis) stopped within the hippocampus. “At the same time that the mice experienced memory and neurogenesis loss, the research team detected a lower level of white blood cells (specifically monocytes) marked with Ly6Chi in the brain, blood, and bone marrow. So researchers tested whether it was indeed the Ly6Chi monocytes behind the changes in neurogenesis and memory,” reports Science Daily.