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That gut feeling

That gut feeling
If aliens were to swoop in from outer space and squeeze a human down to see what we're made of, they would come to the conclusion that cell for cell, we're mostly bacteria. In fact, single-celled organisms—mostly bacteria—outnumber our own cells 10 to one, and most of them make their home in the gut. The gut, in turn, has evolved a stunningly complex neural network capable of leveraging this bacterial ecosystem for the sake of both physical and psychological well-being. The idea that bacteria teeming in the gut—collectively known as the microbiome—can affect not only the gut, but also the mind, "has just catapulted onto the scene," says neuroimmunologist John Bienenstock, MD, of McMaster University in Hamilton, Ontario. In just the last few years, evidence has mounted from studies in rodents that the gut microbiome can influence neural development, brain chemistry and a wide range of behavioral phenomena, including emotional behavior, pain perception and how the stress system responds.

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UK joins project to create synthetic organism from scratch Britain's latest bid to embrace the futuristic science of synthetic biology will be revealed by the government on Thursday when it announces plans to make new strains of brewer's yeast. Researchers will receive nearly £1m to create a synthetic chromosome for the single-celled organism that since Neolithic times has been exploited for its ability to turn sugar into alcohol. The scientists are joining an international effort to build the world's first synthetic yeast genome from scratch, using groundbreaking techniques that are set to transform the field of biology. Experts from Britain, the US, China and India aim to make synthetic versions of all of the organism's 16 chromosomes by 2017, and incorporate them into living cells a year later.

Microbes manipulate your mind Microbes Manipulate Your Mind, in the July/ August issue of Scientific American MIND "The thought of parasites preying on your body or brain very likely sends shivers down your spine. Perhaps you imagine insectoid creatures bursting from stomachs or a malevolent force controlling your actions. Review: Evidence for Psychobiotic Theory Context: The theory that supplemented probiotic bacteria could affect psychological outcomes has recently been outlined in narrative reviews; to date, however, this area of research has not been systematically reviewed. Objective: The objective of this review was to compare the effects of probiotics with those of placebo on psychological outcomes and symptoms of psychiatric disorders. Data Sources: The Cochrane Central Register of Controlled Trials, MEDLINE, Embase, PubMed, PsycINFO, and PsycARTICLES databases were searched electronically for studies published up to July 17, 2014. Reference lists of relevant articles were searched manually.

Scientists breed glow-in-the-dark rabbits As part of an effort to improve treatments for life-threatening illnesses, a team of scientists have created rabbits that glow in the dark. Their efforts produced two rabbits out of a litter of eight that went from being a normal, fluffy white to glowing green in the dark. The rabbits were born at the University of Istanbul as part of a collaboration between scientists from universities in Turkey and Hawaii. The rabbits glow to show that a genetic manipulation technique can work efficiently, though the specific color is more cosmetic than scientific. "The green is not important at all – it's just a marker to show the experiment can be done successfully," said University of Hawaii associate professor Stefan Moisyadi. To produce the glowing effect, researchers injected jellyfish DNA into a mother rabbit's embryos.

Gut bacteria may influence thoughts and behaviour – Neurophilosophy THE human gut contains a diverse community of bacteria which colonize the large intestine in the days following birth and vastly outnumber our own cells. These intestinal microflora constitute a virtual organ within an organ and influence many bodily functions. Among other things, they aid in the uptake and metabolism of nutrients, modulate the inflammatory response to infection, and protect the gut from other, harmful micro-organisms. A new study by researchers at McMaster University in Hamilton, Ontario now suggests that gut bacteria may also influence behaviour and cognitive processes such as memory by exerting an effect on gene activity during brain development. The link between your gut and your brain, mental health, and sleep Our gut does more than help us digest food; the bacteria that call our intestines home have been implicated in everything from our mental health and sleep, to weight gain and cravings for certain foods. This series examines how far the science has come and whether there’s anything we can do to improve the health of our gut. The gut microbiota is the community of bugs, including bacteria, that live in our intestine. It has been called the body’s “forgotten organ” because of the important role it plays beyond digestion and metabolism. You might have read about the importance of a healthy gut microbiota for a healthy brain. Links have been made between the microbiota and depression, anxiety and stress.

At the Printer, Living Tissue Play video By Jeffery DelViscio, Pedro Rafael Rosado, Kriston Lewis, Abe Sater, Robin Lindsay and David Corcoran Being Printed, Living Tissue: At labs around the world, researchers have been experimenting with bioprinting, but there are many formidable obstacles to overcome. Invasion Of The Mind-Controlling Zombie Parasites hide caption Toxoplasma gondii is a parasite, seen here in brain tissue, that can alter the behavior of the host. It can make rodents attracted to cats, leaving them vulnerable to getting eaten. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention This Is Your Brain On Fiber Alright, the brain post. As promised. Please note, this is not a deviation from our central line of inquiry — we’re dot connecting, always. So hang tight! We’re going somewhere with all this… One topic we haven’t covered here yet is the microbiome and the brain.