What parents have long agonized over is coming to the forefront of medical research---and Mom, you were (are) right! The connection between the gut and the brain is being revealed in research at breakneck speed. A few of the most momentous (and my personal favorites) are:
From Johns Hopkins University---research on the enteric nervous system (two thin layers of 100 million nerve cells) and its effect on the brain could revolutionize treatment for both neurological and gastrointestinal conditions. While the association between IBS (Irritable Bowel Syndrome) and depression have long been known, it was assumed anxiety/depression contributed to bouts with IBS---and now it is understood that it is likely the other way around. And this begs the question: Does it have to be one way or the other? Is it possible the IBS affects anxiety/depression AND the anxiety/depression affects IBS? Is there a two-way street happening here? Regardless of the answer, nutrition is highlighted for improvement in these and many other conditions previously considered strictly “mental.” Click here to read more.
· Researchers at the Harvard-affiliated Brigham and Women’s Hospital have uncovered a connection between bacteria living in the digestive system and neurodegenerative diseases, such as multiple sclerosis. “For the first time, we’ve been able to identify that food has some sort of remote control over central nervous system inflammation,” said a lead researcher in the study. Results were published in Nature Medicine in May 2016. Once again, nutrition is shown to have a profound, perhaps causative and/or curative affect for debilitating conditions once thought incurable. Click here to read more.
· The University of Virginia’s School of Medicine reports they have discovered structures PREVIOUSLY UNDETECTED which link the gut and the brain. I repeat---structures within the body which were not known to exist have been discovered. This is as stunning as it is exciting. “We believe that for every neurological disease that has an immune component to it, these vessels may play a major role,” said a professor from the Neuroscience Department. This shifts the entire approach to diseases from Alzheimer’s to autism to multiple sclerosis. Click here to read more.
These studies, and many more, can be summed up in the words of Kevin Lee, who chairs the Department of Neuroscience at the University of Virginia, “They’ll have to rewrite the textbooks.” And thank goodness.