The Influence of the Gut-Microbiome on Early Childhood Behavior

Callie Maupin


In recent years, more studies have been directed towards the overall goal of understanding the science behind mental disorders. The field is relatively unexplored compared to other areas of science. However, as the stigma surrounding mental disorders decreases and more reliable methods of quantifying psychological variables become available, more research has been done. Recent studies have explored the effects of the human microbiome on mental state and other ailments. Rapid changes in the microbiome occur in the first two years of life (Lin et al. 2013). This time could heavily influence the mental state of the individual through adulthood (Lin et al. 2013). Therefore it is important to understand how the microbiome affects mental state of children under two, as their bacterial population is still developing. The focus is on the gut-brain axis. This refers to the signaling between gut bacteria and the central nervous system (Weltens et al. 2018). This article reviews a study conducted by the Ohio State Medical Center, which researches the relationship between gut microbial composition and temperament of subjects in early childhood. Several behavioral traits were associated with specific taxa and abundance of bacteria. The researchers suggested that their work could lead to the possibility of altering gut composition to combat mental disorders.

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