RESIDENT: The Use of Gut Microbiome Modulation Therapies in Psychiatric Patients

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Presenting Author(s): Dr. Tyler Halverson

Co-Author(s): Dr. Kannayiram Alagiakrishnan

Date and time: 25 Mar 2023 from 14:20 to 14:35

Location: Hawthorn B  Floor Map

Learning Objectives

  1. Connection between gut microbes and various mental health conditions;
  2. Gut health as a target for treatment in psychiatric conditions;
  3. The use of gut biotics in mental health and neurocognitive disorders.


Psychiatric and neurocognitive disorders contribute to an all-cause morbidity burden worldwide. To date, current treatment modalities do not completely address the management of these conditions. As such, the available pharmacological options we have undesirable side-effects. Recently, there has been increasing evidence that the gut microbiome may play a role in various mental health and neurocognitive disorders, particularly through the process of dysbiosis. There is a bidirectional interaction between an individual and their gut microbiome via the microbiome-gut-brain axis. Many individuals with a psychiatric diagnosis, such as anxiety and depression, have been shown to have altered microbial composition compared to health controls. From this, there is a growing body of research looking at ways to modulate the gut microbiome from a state of dysbiosis to eubiosis. Much of these therapies involve the use of probiotics, prebiotics, and synbiotics; or more collectively known as microbial therapeutics. The goal of these treatments is to reduce gut permeability and inflammation by various mechanisms and provide benefit to patients with mental health disorders. Incorporating the role of gut health and management may serve as an adjutant therapeutic approach to the treatment of patients with neurocognitive or mental health conditions. Ongoing research, particularly with random-controlled trials and longitudinal studies, is needed to help solidify these approaches as a viable therapeutic modality.

Literature References

  1. Halverson T, Alagiakrishnan K. Gut microbes in neurocognitive and mental health disorders. Ann Med. 2020 Dec;52(8):423-443. doi: 10.1080/07853890.2020.1808239. Epub 2020 Aug 31. PMID: 32772900; PMCID: PMC7877977.
  2. Alagiakrishnan K, Halverson T. Microbial Therapeutics in Neurocognitive and Psychiatric Disorders. J Clin Med Res. 2021 Sep;13(9):439-459. doi: 10.14740/jocmr4575. Epub 2021 Sep 30. PMID: 34691318; PMCID: PMC8510649.

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