Research on brain-bacterial flora links, state of the art: first results on sleep and memory

The scientific journal Science Immunology (AAAS) has published today
two important articles concerning the latest findings about the function of intestinal bacterial flora. The first studies date back to the 90s, when researchers first understood that intestinal bacteria play a key role in inflammation processes. June L. Round and Noah W. Palm, researchers respectively at the University of Utah and the University of New Haven, have written a review summarizing the state of the art of research on the bacterial flora-immune system interactions. It was demonstrated some months ago that a balanced bacterial flora helps slowing brain ageing by interacting with the immune system. Moreover, a famous experiment has found that mice which had received Lactobacillus rhamnosus showed a higher concentration of GABA, a molecule playing a role in memory capacity. Finally, Professor Rob Knight has been working for some years now on a research branch aimed at demonstrating that sleep has an effect on bacterial flora and vice versa, and the first results are surprising. However, it seems clear that taking commercial probiotics does not improve the bacterial flora.
(Sources: AAAS, PNAS)