Are our dreams the stuff that germs are made of?
Will middle-aged Millennials someday use (& abuse) mood-altering 'psychobiotics?
FROM the New York Times, by Brooklyn, NY based reporter Peter Andrey Smith, supported by the UC Berkeley-11th Hour Food and Farming Journalism Fellowship, on June 23, 2015 (and also printed in the June 28, 2015 edition of the New York Times Sunday Magazine):
"It has long been known that much of our supply of neurochemicals — an estimated 50 percent of the dopamine, for example, and a vast majority of the serotonin — originate in the intestine, where these chemical signals regulate appetite, feelings of fullness and digestion. But only in recent years has mainstream psychiatric research given serious consideration to the role microbes might play in creating those chemicals."
"Since 2007, when scientists announced plans for a Human Microbiome Project to catalog the micro-organisms living in our body, the profound appreciation for the influence of such organisms has grown rapidly with each passing year. Bacteria in the gut produce vitamins and break down our food; their presence or absence has been linked to obesity, inflammatory bowel disease and the toxic side effects of prescription drugs.
“Biologists now believe that much of what makes us human depends on microbial activity. The two million unique bacterial genes found in each human microbiome can make the 23,000 genes in our cells seem paltry, almost negligible, by comparison. ‘‘It has enormous implications for the sense of self,’’ Tom Insel, the director of the National Institute of Mental Health, told me. ‘‘We are, at least from the standpoint of DNA, more microbial than human. That’s a phenomenal insight and one that we have to take seriously when we think about human development.’’
"Micro-organisms in our gut secrete a profound number of chemicals, and researchers like Lyte have found that among those chemicals are the same substances used by our neurons to communicate and regulate mood, like dopamine, serotonin and gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA). These, in turn, appear to play a function in intestinal disorders, which coincide with high levels of major depression and anxiety."
Is there such a thing as "psychobiotics" and I wonder if we'll get prescriptions to adjust our moods circa 2025? As humans, Are WE the STUFF that germs are made of? At least partially? :)
This blog's primary focus is trading ideas, but lately I have been finding a wealth of ideas out there and great work that I wanted to post, using this blog as a "notebook".