Some months ago, California welcomed the TEDxCaltech: The Brain conference, where experts from different areas discussed a range of issues about the brain and the future of neuroscience. At one of the sessions, Elaine Hsiao, PhD in Microbiology from the California Institute of Technology, discussed the relationship between the microbiota, the human brain and behaviour.

During her speech, Dr. Hsiao presented some interesting information about the microbiota, such as the fact that the thousands of bacterial species present in our gut can double the weight of a human adult brain. She also mentioned how the study of the microbiota using animal models allows us to understand the role and importance of gut bacteria in complex processes like anxiety, memory and appetite.

Dr. Hsiao explained how the microbiota may affect or contribute to health and disease through a range of mechanisms, including the activation of the vagus nerve, the modulation of the immune system and the stimulation of the endocrine system.

Find out more about the fascinating relationship between the gut microbiota and the nervous system in the following video: