9 October 2023
Gut bacteria and brain health: chicken or egg?
You carry trillions of bacteria with you,
which is even more than the amount of human cells. Most of them are living in the gut, with everyone having their own personal mixture. Although bacteria may have a negative connotation, your gut microbiota lives in symbiosis with your body. They not only help you digest food, the microbiota can influence your cognition through the gut-brain axis. This axis communicates in two ways; from your gut to your brain and vice versa. The communication goes via hormones, metabolites and the immune system. But exactly how does this bidirectional connection work?
In the Science Café on Monday the 9th of October, we will explore the gut-brain axis in health and disease with neuroscientist Esther Aarts (RU) and microbiologist Clara Belzer (WUR). The research of Aarts focuses on the brain end of the axis. She explores how cognitive and motivational functions are mediated through this axis in diseases such as ADHD and Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s disease. She is also interested in the neural mechanisms underlying eating behavior. At the gut end of the axis, Belzer studies the role of gut microbiota and their composition in the maintenance of health throughout life. Moreover, she investigates health interventions using pre- or probiotics in ADHD, obesity and Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s disease. In symbiosis with the speakers, the Epoxy Quartet will charm us with their lyrical melodies and improvisational skills. So, follow your gut feeling to this edition of the Science Café!