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Consumption of fermented milk product with probiotic modulates brain activity

The latest issue of Gastroenterology evaluates consumption of fermented milk product with probiotic modulates brain activity.

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Changes in gut microbiota have been reported to alter signaling mechanisms, emotional behavior, and visceral nociceptive reflexes in rodents.

However, alteration of the intestinal microbiota with antibiotics or probiotics has not been shown to produce these changes in humans.

Dr Kirsten Tillisch from California, USA investigated whether consumption of a fermented milk product with probiotic (FMPP) for 4 weeks by healthy women altered brain intrinsic connectivity or responses to emotional attention tasks.

The research team reported that healthy women with no gastrointestinal or psychiatric symptoms were randomly assigned to groups given fermented milk product with probiotic, a nonfermented milk product, or no intervention twice daily for 4 weeks.

The fermented milk product with probiotic contained Bifidobacterium animalis subsp Lactis, Streptococcus thermophiles, Lactobacillus bulgaricus, and Lactococcus lactis subsp Lactis.

The doctors assessed that participants underwent functional magnetic resonance imaging before and after the intervention to measure brain response to an emotional faces attention task, and resting brain activity.

Fermented milk product with probiotic intake was associated with reduced task-related response
Gastroenterology

The doctors found that multivariate and region of interest analyses were performed.

Fermented milk product with probiotic intake was associated with reduced task-related response of a distributed functional network containing affective, viscerosensory, and somatosensory cortices.

The team of doctors reported that alterations in intrinsic activity of resting brain indicated that ingestion of fermented milk product with probiotic was associated with changes in midbrain connectivity, which could explain the observed differences in activity during the task.

Dr Tillisch's team concluded, "Four-week intake of an fermented milk product with probiotic by healthy women affected activity of brain regions that control central processing of emotion and sensation."

Gastroenterol 2013: 144(7): 1394-1401
12 June 2013

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