There is a growing appreciation of the role of the gut microbiota in all aspects of health and disease, including brain health. Indeed, roles for the bacterial commensals in various psychiatric and neurological conditions, such as depression, autism, stroke, Parkinson’s disease, and Alzheimer’s disease, are emerging. Microbiota dysregulation has been documented in all of these conditions or in animal models thereof. Moreover, depletion or modulation of the gut microbiota can affect the severity of the central pathology or behavioral deficits observed in a variety of brain disorders. However, the mechanisms underlying such effects are only slowly being unraveled. Additionally, recent preclinical and clinical evidence suggest that targeting the microbiota through prebiotic, probiotic, or dietary interventions may be an effective “psychobiotic” strategy for treating symptoms in mood, neurodevelopmental disorders, and neurodegenerative diseases.
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