A new study provides the first evidence in humans that probiotics in the diet can modulate brain activity.
Megan Brooks, Medscape Medical News / Neurology, May 30, 2013
In a proof-of-concept study using functional MRI (fMRI), researchers found that women who regularly consumed probiotic-containing yogurt showed altered activity of brain regions that control central processing of emotion and sensation. The study was funded by Danone Research.
"This study is unique because it is the first to show an interaction between a probiotic and the brain in humans," lead author Kirsten Tillisch, MD, associate professor, Oppenheimer Family Center for Neurobiology of Stress, David Geffen School of Medicine, University of California Los Angeles, toldMedscape Medical News.
"We can't say whether the effects are beneficial; that will take larger studies with more complex designs. One of the areas this will move to is study of disease groups like irritable bowel syndrome and anxiety," she added.
The results appear in the June issue of Gastroenterology.