How Tummy Bugs Boost Your Kid’s Brainpower: New Study Reveals
A recent study has revealed a connection between certain gut microbes and cognitive development in children.
A team of researchers, led by Professor Banya Klabak-Serai from the Life Sciences department at Wellesley College in the United States, has conducted an analysis involving 381 children aged 18 months to 10 years as part of the RESONANCE cohort study, a component of the ‘Environmental influences on Child Health Outcomes’ (ECHO) program. Medical Xpress reported this connection on the 2nd.
The research team performed cognitive function assessments tailored to the children’s ages and collected stool samples a week before each evaluation to study the gut microbial population.
The findings revealed that as the children grew older, the diversity of their gut microbial population increased. Notably, a significant correlation between the diversity of gut microbes, the metabolism of short-chain fatty acids (essential nutrients for gut health), and cognitive function evaluation scores emerged starting at 18 months of age.
Cognitive function scores showed improvement with the diversification of microbes like Alistipes obesi and Blautia wexlerae and an increase in the population of species that secrete short-chain fatty acids, such as Eubacterium eligens and Faecalibacterium prausnitzii. Conversely, children with lower cognitive function scores exhibited a higher population of microbes like Rumonococcus gnavus.
According to the research team, the results highlight the importance of gut health in childhood and emphasize the need for proper dietary and lifestyle habits from a young age.
Recent studies have indicated a connection between gut microbes and neurodevelopmental disorders such as Autism Spectrum Disorder, Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease, and depression.
These findings support the gut-brain axis theory, which posits that there is a signal transmission pathway between the gut and the brain. According to this theory, byproducts from the cells of gut bacteria influence brain function as they circulate in the blood.
The gut-brain axis is emerging as one of the most sensitive areas of recent research.
These research findings have been published in the latest edition of Science Advances, a journal affiliated with the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS).