Your baby's 'response to fear' may be influenced by gut bacteria

Gut bacteria are known to affect various aspects such as

human mood , food preferences , and endurance , and the intestines are also called the ' second brain.' A new paper published by a research team at the University of North Carolina suggests that the 'response to fear' in babies may also be influenced by gut bacteria.

Infant gut microbiome composition is associated with non-social fear behavior in a pilot study | Nature Communications

Bacteria are connected to how babies experience fear | MSUToday | Michigan State University

Fear Response in Babies May Be Shaped by Their Gut Microbiome, Study Reveals

Recent studies have shown that gut bacteria affect many aspects of humans. Therefore, a research team led by Associate Professor Rebecca Nickmeier of Michigan State University conducted a study to follow up newborn infants from 1 month to 1 year after birth and analyze the intestinal flora and 'response to fear'. I did.

The 34 babies who participated in this study were all born via the birth canal rather than by caesarean section, were not given antibiotics, and were not breastfed until at least the first month of life. Was done. The research team said this was to minimize the effect on the intestinal flora.

The research team analyzed the intestinal flora of babies at 1 month and 1 year of age to assess what bacteria they contained and their overall balance. In addition, at the time of the first year of life, we conducted a simple test that 'a person wearing a Halloween mask enters the room', and based on the baby's facial expression, voice, body movement, escape behavior, surprise, etc. I measured whether I responded to fear. In addition, at this time, the parent was in the immediate vicinity of the baby, and the scared baby was able to be treated by the parent.

When all the data were put together, the team found a significant association between the gut microbiota and the strength of its response to fear. Specifically, it occupied in the intestinal flora

Bacteroides small proportion of, Beironera genus - di Alistair species , Bifidobacterium , Lactobacillus , Clostridium eyes in the infant rate, such as is often a kind of, seeing a strong tendency fear reaction It was said that it was done. In addition, infants with an imbalanced intestinal bacterial flora at the age of 1 month and a heterogeneous microbial composition also showed a strong fear reaction at the age of 1 year.

The research team also observed the reaction of the baby when a stranger entered the room without wearing a mask, but it was not related to the intestinal flora. In this regard, Nickmeier said, 'The stranger feels a'social element'. Children may have been socially vigilant, but what is the imminent threat to strangers? I don't recognize it. When children see a mask, they don't feel a social element there, 'he said, pointing out that people wearing masks are treated in the brain as objects of fear. did.

As Nick Meyer states, 'The fear response is a normal part of a child's development,' just because an infant's fear response is strong does not mean that it is bad. However, controlling fear as you grow up is important for mental health, and if you continue to have excessive fear, you may eventually increase your risk of developing anxiety disorders and depression.

In addition, an MRI scan of the baby's brain by the research team suggested that the composition of the gut microbiota at 1 year of age may be related to the size of the amygdala. Since the amygdala plays an important role in the processing of emotional reactions including fear, the fear response may have changed as a result of the intestinal flora affecting the development and function of the amygdala. However, it seems that further research is needed to confirm this point.

'In the early stages of development, there are plenty of opportunities to promote healthy brain development. The gut microbiota can be used to promote the development of a child's brain, new and exciting. It is a subject of research. '

The study was preliminary to a small number of babies, and the research team pointed out that 'these findings need to be treated with caution until they are reproduced.'

in Science, Posted by log1h_ik