Gut feelings: why drugs that nurture your microbes could be the future of mental health

Scientists know our gut influences our brain. So psychobiotic drugs that shift the composition of microbes in the gut may be able to help treat disorders such as anxiety and depression

In a classic comic strip, most recently gracing the Beano, tiny characters called “numskulls” live in the head of a chap called Edd, controlling what he gets up to – often with hilarious results. It has run for decades, presumably because the idea that there could be critters within us capable of exerting a profound mental and physical influence seems pretty absurd.

But it appears science is having the last laugh: in recent years the idea has spawned myriad research papers – except that instead of minuscule people at work inside one’s head, it is microbes in the gut that appear to be pulling the strings.

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