May 11, 2017

Bacteria in the gut, causing bubbles in the brain that may burst at any time, causing a stroke.

"The new study, published on Wednesday in Nature, is among the first to suggest convincingly that these bacteria may initiate disease in seemingly unrelated organs, and in completely unexpected ways."
Researchers “need to be thinking more broadly about the indirect role of the microbiome” in influencing even diseases that have no obvious link to the gut, said Dr. David Relman, professor of microbiology and immunology at Stanford.

31 comments:

EDH said...

I've always heard of "Brain Farts".

http://www.urbandictionary.com/define.php?term=Brain%20Fart

Kate said...

In my internet travels I've heard some crazy hypotheses about bacteria: they cause high blood pressure, they cause gay men. (Don't ask how I landed on a site for that last one; it was a convoluted trip that I don't recall and couldn't find again.)

The new scientific frontier. Everybody's going tiny.

Michael K said...

Man is that an ignorant article !

Unfortunately, Nature does not let non-subscribers read articles so the NYT can screw it up without contradiction.

The microbiome is going to be an increasing big deal in medicine.

Obesity might be related and that woman in the photo badly needs a fecal transplant from a skinny person.

Curious George said...

So the cure for brains of shit is shit for brains.

Guildofcannonballs said...

I have been aware of the brain bubbles for quite some time now.

My dog and I would have conversations about them.

He knows.

3rdGradePB_GoodPerson said...

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gOZcbNw7sng

Ann Althouse said...

"Unfortunately, Nature does not let non-subscribers read articles so the NYT can screw it up without contradiction."

I thought the NYT was set up so that my links would get you past the subscription wall. Is that no longer the case?

mezzrow said...

Just clicked through. It worked for me, Ann.

sparrow said...

I have a subscription through work. First the stroke causing abnormalities are clusters of poorly formed bold vessels (capillaries) that are prone to leakage not gas pockets (where did that idea come from?). Second the gram negative bacteria (GNB) involved is operating indirectly through and innate immunity signaling pathway. The bacterial effect was tested in mice that are mutants for several known genes and in those that are wild type (wt). Wt mice have no brain lesions with or without the GNB so it's a conditional effect. The authors also linked natural variations in another gene to increased susceptibility. Last antibiotics altered susceptibility. Solid study, in a very high profile journal, senior author is from U Penn (good school IMO)

sparrow said...

that's blood vessel not "bold"

Ignorance is Bliss said...

Ann Althouse said...

I thought the NYT was set up so that my links would get you past the subscription wall. Is that no longer the case?

Michael K's point is he can read the NYT article, but not the Nature study on which it is based.

sparrow said...

The authors describe the GNB effect as "associated" with stroke that means it can be demonstrated to linked but the precise mechanism of action is still undetermined. Inside baseball, but that kind of term "associated" as opposed to "caused" is meant very precisely and reviewers take claims of this kind very seriously.

Michael K said...

I did not try to look at Nature from previous attempts. Thanks, sparrow.

The microbiome is going to be a big deal. Obesity may be related. But that is only one local area.

When I was a medical student, a long long time ago, Crohn's Disease was thought to be caused by an atypical tb organism. Its now pretty well established that it is autoimmune but there might still be something else there having to do with gut flora.

Michael K said...

I finally subscribed to the NYT. I think it was five cents a month or something.

sparrow said...

FYI I'm referring to the Nature publication "Endothelial TLR4 and the microbiome drive cerebral cavernous malformations". I haven't looked at the times article. BTW the authors have shown that lipopolysaccharides cause this effect, so they've done quite a bit to complete out the story.

robother said...

Treat your shit right, and it'll do right by you. Maybe start by stop referring to it as "shit"; even bacteria have feelings.

sparrow said...

Stats are pretty sophisticated, as you would expect from U Penn, Gram-negative Bacteroidetes family s24-7 is the most likely culprit. They used high throughput 16S sequencing of the gut flora to find it

sparrow said...

The gut biome has been linked to diabetes and obesity for a long while, this link is less direct but still important. Most people needn't worry though, this effect is dependent on a genetic predisposition.

Kevin said...

For some people, their gut reaction is they should have a stroke and die.

Owen said...

So this sounds as if Gram-negative bugs move from gut to brain where they produce LPS which erodes blood vessels?

The world is full of danger.

I agree that the microbiome is a very big deal. If you ran a human being through a shredder and sequenced the pulp, 90% would not be "us."

My germs authorized this statement.

Michael K said...

Toxoplasmosis is also associated with mental health issues. Not just schizophrenia but obsessive compulsive disorder, as well.

It's not exactly gut microbiome but there might be an association.

Owen said...

T. gondii is said by Wiki to infest half of humanity and in some places more. It forms cysts that never go away: presumably they are very low cross-section on the radar of the immune system and/or they take up residence in immune-privileged compartments like the brain. In any case, bad news but that's life.

sparrow said...

Owen
I doubt the bugs get into the brain but rather the LPS cross the blood brain barrier

Helenhightops said...

Michael K and Sparrow: I have a college friend who has an ileostomy from long standing Crohn's. And in early middle age he developed a new arteriovenous malformation in his posterior cerebral circulation. This has given him vascular tinnitus (he can hear the blood swishing in that ear - LOUDLY). No one is willing to touch it for fear of causing a stroke. So this is interesting.

This friend was an unbelievable pianist and a physics major. He said that his brain is so musical that it's running all the time, trying to impose some pattern on the random swishing. And so he's not able to keep his job, which is highly technical and possibly dangerous. And he can't play the piano.

Unknown said...

I had a gut issue where every poop burned like I had been eating mexican food. Ouch. Doctor clueless. After 2 months I finally tried probiotics and it went away in like 4 days. No, I'm not being paid by anyone...

Crimso said...

This is just Big Gut trying to keep the gravy train of NIH funding going. Next thing you know they'll be trying to tell us bacteria cause peptic ulcers.

rsbsail said...

I remember when ulcers were thought to be caused by stress, and then some Australian doctors said, no, it was gut bacteria. So, while I am not a doctor, I can believe this is possible!

Michael K said...

Here is this weeks NEJM article on AV malformations. Not exactly the microbiome thing but interesting.

Years ago, I told a friend of mine, who is a science reporter in San Diego, about how we used to do fecal transplants on patients with antibiotic resistant organisms in the gut.

My professor had a theory that pathogenic bacteria were less well adapted to normal gut and only in the presence of antibiotics did they thrive. That was long (50 Years) before " probiotics" but I used to have all my patients drink acidophilus milk and eat yogurt after being on antibiotics.

My friend then got interested in probiotics.

Our method, a bit crude, was to take a stool sample from a healthy patient and put it in a malted milk shake.

It worked.

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sparrow said...

Fecal transplants do work, they often use the healthy spouse as a donor

sparrow said...

I doubt anyone is paying attention to this thread anymore but if so the real news out today in Nature is that they've engineeered a new antibiotic that'll handle Gram negative bacteria. The article "Predictive compound accumulation rules yield a broad-spectrum antibiotic" describes how they altered a narrowly effective drug that couldn't treat GNB to better mimic other molecules that can enter GNB cells. Every new drug is a big deal due to recent increases in antibiotic resistance.