Studying the link between the gut and mental health is personal for this scientist

Calliope Holingue, a scientist studying the link between gut health and mental health, believes her personal experiences with gastrointestinal issues and mental health disorders have helped pave her research path.

Personal Inspiration: Calliope Holingue’s personal encounters with gastrointestinal and mental health issues sparked her interest in the connection between the two.
* As a teenager, the onset of severe gastrointestinal symptoms, coupled with her battle with anxiety and obsessive-compulsive disorder, sparked her interest in the gut-brain relationship.

Current Research: Today, Holingue is an assistant professor of mental health at Johns Hopkins School of Public Health, where she investigates the gut-brain connection.
* Alongside being an assistant professor, she is part of the faculty at the Center for Autism and Related Disorders at Kennedy Krieger Institute.
* She’s currently leading research examining gut microbes and symptoms that co-occur with autism.

Scientific Evidence: The link between gut health and mental health is gradually being unveiled through various studies.
* Animal experiments have demonstrated a robust link between the gut and the brain.
* Preliminary research has shown a connection between specific gut bacteria and serious mental illnesses like depression, bipolar disorder, and schizophrenia.

Projected impacts: Understanding the gut-brain connection could potentially revolutionize treatment methods for mental illness.
* Holingue believes that colonizing the gut microbiota and its role in metabolite or neurotransmitter production could help develop drugs that target these pathways.
* There’s ongoing research about fecal transplants in mental health treatment, but Holingue stresses that more evidence-backed studies are needed before it becomes a common treatment method.

View original article on NPR

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