Department of Psychology
18 University Avenue
Child Research Inquiries
The gut is home to trillions of bacteria, both good and bad, which together form the gut microbiome. Good bacteria are referred to as probiotics and play a role in normal human development, digestion, body weight, nutritional status, brain functioning, and immune system regulation. It has been found that environmental factors including antibiotics, cesarean birth, illness, stress, and diet can disrupt the balance of bacteria in the microbiome and contribute to a variety of health problems, both mental and physical.
Microbiome disturbances have been implicated in the development of autism and a variety of other mental health conditions, including anxiety and depression, through a connection labeled the "gut-brain axis". For example, there is a strong link between gastrointestinal disturbances and anxiety and depressed mood, which in turn are associated with disturbances of the gut microbiome. Disruptions in the development of a normal microbiome have been associated with alterations in stress reactivity that continue into later life. The high incidence of comorbidity between stress related psychiatric disorders, such as anxiety and depression, and gastrointestinal disorders is further evidence of this gut-brain relationship.
Dr. Susan Potter
Tel: (902) 585-1220
Adult Research Inquiries
NOW ENROLLING CHILDREN IN OUR PROBIOTIC STUDY!
THE EFFECTS OF PROBIOTICS ON ANXIETY AND ADHD SYMPTOMS IN CHILDREN (AGE 6 TO 17 YEARS)
Thanks to all who participated in the adult study, "The effects of probiotics on anxiety and mood balance in adults". This study is now closed to new participants. The results should be available mid-2017.