Medical

The strange interaction between brain injury and intestinal damage

The strange interaction betwee...
A new study has uncovered how brain injury can be worsened by bacteria in the gut
A new study has uncovered how brain injury can be worsened by bacteria in the gut
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A new study has uncovered how brain injury can be worsened by bacteria in the gut
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A new study has uncovered how brain injury can be worsened by bacteria in the gut

The gut-brain connection is one of themore fascinating new areas of medical research. This intriguingtwo-way axis has been found to have numerous unexpected effects. Onone hand some studies have demonstrated how magnetic brainstimulation can alter a person's gut microbiome while other studieshave shown how gut bacteria could potentially play a role in theonset of PTSD and Alzheimer's.

A new study from the University ofMaryland School of Medicine has revealed another strange gut-brainconnection, this time between traumatic brain injury (TBI) and intestinaldamage. Researchers have previously identified an odd connectionbetween TBI and alterations in a person's gastrointestinal tract, butthis is the first study to understand this interaction in detail andto reveal the two-way nature of the process.

The study looked at mice that weresubjected to TBI, and discovered that following the brain trauma, theanimal's colon became more permeable. This means that bacteria canmore easily move from the intestine to other areas in the body,resulting in potentially fatal scenarios such as blood poisoning.

The team also looked at howirregularities in the gut could affect inflammation in the brainafter TBI. In this instance, after infecting TBI-inflicted mice withnegative gut bacteria, the animal's brain inflammation was seen toworsen. This fascinating result suggests that the harmful effects ofTBI can be directly influenced by gut dysfunction.

"These results indicate strongtwo-way interactions between the brain and the gut that may helpexplain the increased incidence of systemic infections after braintrauma and allow new treatment approaches," says lead researcherAlan Faden.

The study helps explain why patients suffering from TBI have been two and half times more likely to die from digestive problems than a person not afflicted by brain injury. So far, the mechanism that is causing this strange interaction is unknown, but this is strong research affirming the complexity of this two-way connection between the gut and the brain.

The study was published in the journal Brain, Behavior and Immunity.

Source: University of Maryland School of Medicine

2 comments
amazed W1
One would expect a link of some kind - the brain needs to know how what has been eaten is affceting the whole organism - so this should be one of the really primitive connections. It would be worth taking the investigation as far back as the basic human embryology to see whether there is a similar type of related development between gut and brain as there is between skin and brain.
F. Tuijn
Many dinosaurs had a large "second brain" above their hind legs ( how is that with birds, are they so small that such a second brain is not necessary? ). Was this second brain needed to help control their gut?