Linking Environmental Factors and Mental Health

Research Paper Title

From Family Surroundings to Intestinal Flora, A Literature Review Concerning Epigenetic Processes in Psychiatric Disorders.

Background

Some behaviours or psychiatric conditions seem to be inherited from parents or explain by family environment.

The researchers hypothesised interactions between epigenetic processes, inflammatory response and gut microbiota with family surroundings or environmental characteristics.

Methods

The researchers searched in literature interactions between epigenetic processes and psychiatric disorders with a special interest for environmental factors such as traumatic or stress events, family relationships and also gut microbiota.

They searched on Pubmed, PsycINFO, PsycARTICLES and Sciencedirect articles with the keywords psychiatric disorders, epigenome, microbiome and family relationships.

Results

Some gene polymorphisms interact with negative environment and lead to psychiatric disorders.

Negative environment is correlated with different epigenetic modifications in genes implicated in mental health. Gut microbiota diversity affect host epigenetic.

Animal studies showed evidences for a transgenerational transmission of epigenetic characteristics.

Conclusions

The findings support the hypothesis that epigenetic mediate gene-environment interactions and psychiatric disorders.

Several environmental characteristics such as traumatic life events, family adversity, psychological stress or internal environment such as gut microbiota diversity and diet showed an impact on epigenetic.

These epigenetic modifications are also correlated with neurophysiological, inflammatory or hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal axis dysregulations.

Reference

Dubois, T., Reynaert, C., Jacques, D., Lepiece, B. & Zdanowicz, N. (2020) From Family Surroundings to Intestinal Flora, A Literature Review Concerning Epigenetic Processes in Psychiatric Disorders. Psychiatria Danubina. 32(Suppl 1), pp.158-163.

Should We Target Inflammation, The Gut Microbiome, and Mitochondrial Dysfunction in Combat PTSD-Metabolism?

Research Paper Title

Novel Pharmacological Targets for Combat PTSD-Metabolism, Inflammation, The Gut Microbiome, and Mitochondrial Dysfunction

Background

Current pharmacological treatments of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) have limited efficacy.

Although the diagnosis is based on psychopathological criteria, it is frequently accompanied by somatic comorbidities and perhaps “accelerated biological ageing,” suggesting widespread physical concomitants.

Such physiological comorbidities may affect core PTSD symptoms but are rarely the focus of therapeutic trials.

Methods

To elucidate the potential involvement of metabolism, inflammation, and mitochondrial function in PTSD, the researchers integrate findings and mechanistic models from the DOD-sponsored “Systems Biology of PTSD Study” with previous data on these topics.

Results

Data implicate inter-linked dysregulations in metabolism, inflammation, mitochondrial function, and perhaps the gut microbiome in PTSD.

Several inadequately tested targets of pharmacological intervention are proposed, including insulin sensitisers, lipid regulators, anti-inflammatories, and mitochondrial biogenesis modulators.

Conclusions

Systemic pathologies that are intricately involved in brain functioning and behaviour may not only contribute to somatic comorbidities in PTSD, but may represent novel targets for treating core psychiatric symptoms.

Reference

Bersani, F.S., Mellon, S.H., Lindqvist, D., Kang, J.I., Rampersaud, R., Somvanshi, P.R., Doyle, F.J., Hammamieh, R., Jett, M., Yehuda, R., Marmar, C.R. & Wolkowitz, O.M. (2020) Novel Pharmacological Targets for Combat PTSD-Metabolism, Inflammation, The Gut Microbiome, and Mitochondrial Dysfunction

What is Sickness Behaviour?

Sickness Behaviour is a type of short-term depression:

“Remember the last time you had a stomach bug and just wanted to crawl into bed and pull up the covers? That is called “sickness behaviour” and it is a kind of short-term depression.

The bacteria infecting you aren’t just making you feel nauseous, they are controlling your mood too. It sounds absurd: they are in your gut and your feelings are generated in your brain.

In fact, this is just an inkling of the power that microbes have over our emotions. In recent years, such organisms in the gut have been implicated in a range of conditions that affect mood, especially depression and anxiety.

The good news is that bacteria don’t just make you feel low; the right ones can also improve your mood. That has an intriguing implication: one day we may be able to manipulate the microbes living within our gut to change our mood and feelings.” (Anderson, 2019, p.34).

Reference

Anderson, S. (2019) The Psychobiotic Revolution. New Scientist. 07 September 2019.

Sickness: In the Mind or Gut?

“Remember the last time you had a stomach bug and just wanted to crawl into bed and pull up the covers?

That is called “sickness behaviour” and it is a kind of short-term depression.

The bacteria infecting you aren’t just making you feel nauseous, they are controlling your mood too.

It sounds absurd: they are in your gut and your feelings are generated in your brain.

In fact, this is just an inkling of the power that microbes have over our emotions.

In recent years, such organisms in the gut have been implicated in a range of conditions that affect mood, especially depression and anxiety.

The good news is that bacteria don’t just make you feel low; the right ones can also improve your mood.

That has an intriguing implication: one day we may be able to manipulate the microbes living within our gut to change our mood and feelings.

It is early days, but the promise is astounding.

The World Health Organization rates depression and anxiety as the number one cause of disability, affecting at least 300 million people worldwide.

The new findings challenge the whole paradigm of mental illness being caused by a chemical imbalance in the brain, and offer an alternative to drug treatment.

You’ve probably heard of probiotics, but these are their new incarnation – psychobiotics. They could be about to change the mood of the planet.” (Anderson, 2019, p.34).

Reference

Anderson, S. (2019) The Pyschobiotic Revolution. New Scientist. 07 September 2019.