Thanks to the progress and new findings of current scientific research, more and more information is available about the several physiological effects of the microbiome. Recently, new evidences have been established on the direct connection of the intestinal flora and the nerve system, which may foster elaboration of new diagnostic tools, treatments and prevention methods. These findings are published in the synopsis of the 16th Annual Meeting of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS, February, 2018).

As it is known, the microbiome significantly influences the host’s metabolism and immune response, therefore it effects the host’s general health status and the possible outcome of diseases. Besides the previously researched intestinal flora related metabolic disorders and inflammatory bowel diseases, the key topic at the conference in Austin was the role of the intestinal flora influencing mood and behaviour. New, previously not published results were presented on the effects of the intestinal flora on memory, sleep cycle and quality and stress tolerance – as stands in the scientific chapter of magazine Qubit.

Janet Jansson, the chief scientist of Biology in the Biological Sciences Division of the Pacific Northwest National Laboratory presented that the memory of mice treated with Lactobacillus genus was significantly more effective, than that of the control mice, whose gastrointestinal system was not exposed to Lactobacillus genus. The factual metabolites and metabolic pathways will be the topics of further researches.

Rob Knight, a professor at the University of California, researches the relationship between sleeping and microorganisms in the gastrointestinal system. He has implemented animal studies and human trials related to these topics. According to his observations the quantity of sleeping and the intestinal flora mutually effect each other: the loss of sleep alters the intestinal flora and the presence of some microorganisms and their metabolites may exert wakening or sedative impacts on the host. Furthermore, the intestinal presence of a soil bacteria, Mycobacterium vaccae, is related to stress tolerance of mice. Further details of these relationships are still to be revealed by ongoing research activities.

Importance of revealing the relationships between the microbiome and memory function, sleeping and stress tolerance is recognized by the Office of Naval Research of the U.S. Navy, which partly finances these studies. It is supposed that the soldiers’ stress caused by the loss of sleep and unbalanced lifestyle, could even be treated by food supplements instead of medicines, which may significantly blunt the concentration. In our busy world anyone could benefit from these new observations apart from soldiers, as quality of life in general could significantly be improved with special food supplements, functional foods containing special bacteria. Consumption of these products supports improvement of humans’ metabolism, memory, stress tolerance and circadian rhythm.