Gut microbiome links to addiction investigated

Researchers will be presenting their studies pertaining to the role of gut microbiome and its links to addiction at this year’s FENS Forum.

Noteworthy among the is the study by Dr Carina Carbia, from University College of Cork who will present her work on microbiome alterations, immune markers, and neuropsychological functioning in young binge drinkers.

Over the last few years advancement in multiple studies pertaining to gut microbiome has led to unravelling of great number of secrets with a critical among them being the constant two-way communication between our brain and the mesh-like layers of neurons in the gastrointestinal tract. Researchers are of the opinion that in addition to keeping our guts balanced and healthy, microbes also influence nervous system activity and are important in training our immune system during development. Alterations in gut microbiota are associated with many psychiatric disorders, including addiction.

Dr Carbia studies the gut-brain axis in binge drinkers during adolescence. In the first study of its kind, Dr. Carbia demonstrates alterations in the gut microbiota of young binge drinkers and identifies new biomarkers of craving before an addiction develops. Her work highlights links between the gut microbiome, emotional processing and impulsivity, which further supports the growing literature on the microbiome playing a role in cognitive processes. These findings are of relevance for gut-derived interventions directed at improving early alcohol-related alterations in young drinkers during the vulnerable period of adolescence.

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