Oropharyngeal bacteria linked with Schizophrenia – Tiny organisms found in the throat are associated with neuropsychiatric disorder.
The researchers at George Washington University focused on the microbes living in the oropharynx, the region of the throat located at the back of the mouth.
They examined the complete microbiome, looking at the viruses, bacteria and fungi present in 16 individuals with schizophrenia and 16 healthy volunteers. As part of the study, the throat swabs were collected at Sheppard Pratt Hospital, DNA was extracted and the samples were analyzed.
The study revealed that the microbial communities in the oral cavity of schizophrenia patients differ significantly from those healthy participants. Overall, the schizophrenia samples were relatively more abundant for lactic acid bacteria. These included species of Lactobacilli and Bifidobacterium that have previously been linked to the modulation of inflammation and anxiety in the case of the former.
They also found fungal species Candida dubliniensis to be more abundant in participants with schizophrenia. The scientists suggested that this fungus might be associated with either altered immune responses or changes in the local environment. They believe that this link could lead to ways of identifying the causes and potential treatments of the neuropsychiatric disorder.
Oropharyngeal bacteria “Our results suggesting a link between microbiome diversity and schizophrenia require replication and expansion to a broader number of individuals for further validation,” said Dr. Keith Crandall, director of the Computational Biology Institute at GWU.
Schizophrenia is a complex mental disorder characterized by deficits in cognitive functioning, perceptions and emotional response. The disabling brain disorder affects about 2.4 million American adults and 26 million people worldwide. Symptoms of the disorder typically start between the ages 16-30 and the most common symptoms include delusions, auditory hallucinations, confused thinking, social withdrawal and lack of motivation. IMAGE/4ourbody.com