Treating Gut Microbiome with Probiotics Seen to Aid Cognitive Abilities in Pilot Study

Treating Gut Microbiome with Probiotics Seen to Aid Cognitive Abilities in Pilot Study
A small pilot study found that eight weeks of treatment with probiotics — live microorganisms thought beneficial to the gut microbiota — significantly helped to improve some aspects of cognition in fibromyalgia patients, like impulsive choice and decision-making. But self-reported improvements in life quality and a lesser sense of depression or anxiety were similar between patients taking the probiotics and those given a placebo — the so-called "placebo effect," which the researchers suggested might have resulted from an "expectation of symptom improvement." The study, “A Pilot Randomized Controlled Trial to Explore Cognitive and Emotional Effects of Probiotics in Fibromyalgia,” was published in the journal Nature Scientific Reports. Several studies have demonstrated that the balance of the gut microbiome — the bacteria and other microorganisms that compose the digestive tract — has a direct role in regulating such "chores" of the brain as motivation, affection and cognition. It has been hypothesized that microorganisms in the gut actually regulate brain processes through a “bidirectional communication network” called the gut microbiota—brain axis or GBA. Scientists are starting to consider GBA as a potential treatment target for disorders linked to problems with the brain and its workings. Probiotics, or microorganisms that benefit the health of the host organism when administered at appropriate doses, are one way of adjusting the gut's microbiota. Recent evidence suggests that probiotic use has the potential to improve the physical, psychological, and cognitive state of patients with an imbalanced g
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