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Cambridge University Science Magazine
The study, led by scientists at Louisiana State University, found that a high fat diet changes the type of bacteria in the gut. These changes not only caused not only inflammation of the gut which altered gastrointestinal health, but also within the brain.

The researchers took two groups of healthy mice. One group were fed on a normal diet, and the other on a fatty diet. At the end of the study, the team took gut bacteria from the fatty diet group and transplanted into the mice with a healthy diet. The mice that received the transplant then displayed heightened anxiety, poor memory, and repetitive behaviour. The fact that the healthy mice were only exposed to the gut bacteria of the fatty-fed mice proved the link between gut health and mental health.

Dr. John Krystal, Editor of the Journal Biological Psychiatry comments "This paper suggests that high-fat diets impair brain health, in part, by disrupting the symbiotic relationship between humans and the microorganisms that occupy our gastrointestinal tracts.”

Further research is now needed to determine whether this discovery has the potential to help treat illnesses such as depression and other psychiatric disorders.

DOI: 10.1016/j.biopsych.2014.07.012

Written by Joanna-Marie Howes.