Safeminds: Toddler Intestine Microbiome and Worry Response
Hint: Could the belly be the culprit behind the struggles of the younger generation riddled with fear, worry and self-doubt? We know the role it plays in autistic behavior. And a certain doctor tried to ask tough questions a couple of decades ago, as you may remember …..
The gut microbiome of infants can contribute to the development of the fear response
Study examines microbiome content in 1-month and 1-year-old infants
The microbiome is the collection of trillions of microorganisms that inhabit the digestive tract. Everyone has a completely unique microbiome, which is made up of a network of microbiota that was originally determined by their DNA.
The microbiome is the collection of trillions of microorganisms that inhabit the digestive tract. Everyone has a completely unique microbiome, which is made up of a network of microbiota that was originally determined by their DNA. The microbiome develops rapidly in the first year of life. Previous research has linked human behavior, including fear and anxiety, to the composition of the microbiome. For these reasons, a research team from Michigan State University set out to study the incidence of anxiety responses in infants around 12 months of age and to investigate whether anxiety behavior is influenced by the development and composition of the microbiome. Michigan state researchers theorized that there are critical windows in the development of the brain and nervous system where variations in the composition of the microbiome could affect infant fear behavior and potentially affect the physical structure of the brain areas involved in the Are involved in generating fear. By recruiting a group of 34 infants, the study’s authors rated the microbiome content and volume of key brain regions at 1 month and 12 months of age. At the second survey point, they also examined the infants’ social and non-social anxiety behaviors. The results of the study showed that the composition of the microbiome after 1 year “is significantly associated with increased fear behavior” and that differences in microbial colonization cause differences in fear. The researchers based these results on a task measuring non-social anxiety. They also found that certain qualities of the 1-month microbiome were additionally associated with increased non-social anxiety after 1 year. In addition, this study demonstrated a “suggestive” relationship between the contents of the infant microbiome and the volumes of the amygdala and prefrontal cortex. Although associations between microbiome and variations between individual fear responses were found in the infants, the study’s authors say that it is too early to label specific microbiome contents as good or bad. This is mainly due to differences between individuals and also because some microbes can have positive and negative effects in different contexts.