By: Hannah Heitz
The article describes the landmark studies that have led to the contemporary respect for the value of the microbiome, both in research and in human health. The studies were based on the connection between immune function and stress levels; as early as the 1990s it was shown that bacteria change and respond to stress. These studies were initially performed in petri dishes, and it has taken decades to convince the scientific community of its relevance to human diseases ranging from IBD to autism. Research on rats showed that non-stressed rats giving birth passed on higher levels of GABA, a key neurotransmitter in anxiety, which would theoretically lead to lower levels of anxiety within the offspring.
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Hannah Heitz is a member of the Human Health News Team and is a Human Health major. Learn more about Hannah here.