The GLP aggregated and excerpted this blog/article to reflect the diversity of news, opinion and analysis.
No one is quite sure what causes schizophrenia, but for decades scientists have been looking at the link between schizophrenia and the immune system. The immune system appears weaker in schizophrenic patients, but researchers didn’t really understand how the two were connected. Recent research into the microbiome—the colonies of bacteria that live in and around our bodies—has shown that these bacteria play a surprisingly large part in all sorts of functions, including regulating our moods and modulating our immune systems.
So a team of researchers from George Washington University decided to investigate which bacteria make up the microbiome in patients with and without schizophrenia. They took throat swabs of 32 patients, half of whom had schizophrenia and half of whom did not, and sequenced the genes of the bacteria they found there. They looked at which types of bacteria they were, and their concentrations.
The researchers found that the bacteria living in the throats of schizophrenic patients were very different from those in the control patients. Control patients had different concentrations of commonly found bacteria, and they also had a greater diversity of bacterial species. Schizophrenic patients had more lactic acid bacteria, which could indicate an imbalance in their microbiomes.
The study did not account for bacterial colonies in other parts of the body, such as the mouth and intestines. Additionally, the sample size is too small to draw any general conclusions from the findings. The researchers hope, however, that the study will serve as a jumping-off point for future investigation into the possible connection between schizophrenia and the microbiome.
Read full, original post: People with schizophrenia have different throat bacteria