[For example], understanding how gut microbes influence the brain, the ’gut-brain axis’, is becoming increasingly relevant to understanding aspects of human behaviour - particularly the causes and possible future treatments for serious neurodegenerative diseases, such as Parkinson’s disease and autism,” Carding said.
To that end, there is now a growing body of research, particularly with animal models, that suggests you can treat the symptoms of autism by consuming probiotic bacteria, Carding said. According to Carding, the use of probiotics to treat certain diseases, such as autism, is becoming increasingly more important and unique. “We are moving here into the realms of personalised medicine by finding out the relative health status of the gut microbes - and based on that you can decide the best course of action for an individual,” he said. “If we understand what the key metabolites or metabolic output of a healthy microbiota is compared to an unhealthy one, you have an opportunity to replace what is missing or alter the levels of key things by putting certain types of microbes back into the person and that would be achieved via probiotics.”
There are also more drastic measures individuals can pursue such as microbiotic transplantation. “Since the first reports of successful faecal microbiotic transplantation, there has been a tidal wave of interest at looking at the potential to use this approach to treat a variety of diseases,” Carding said. “In five years from now, you could be looking at a much broader range of applications including treating diseases that affects the central nervous system or the treatment of some cancers. “You should really consider your gut as a second brain.”
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