The Gut Brain Axis Study

The aim of this project is to understand how different populations of gut bacteria influence brain function and behaviour in humans.

Did you know some of the bacteria in your gut produce the same chemicals that your brain uses every day? We want to know if these chemicals affect the way your brain functions and whether increasing the amount of “good” bacteria in your gut improves your ability to perform different tasks.

This exciting project includes two studies using state-of-the-art technology to investigate the gut-brain axis in 250 healthy male volunteers. As the largest study of its kind, its outcomes are expected to change how we understand the link between the gut and the brain function in humans, and could contribute to the understanding of complex disorders such as autism spectrum disorders and anxiety.

This project includes two studies, investigating how the gut microbiome influences the brain and behaviour (Study 1) and how taking probiotics that enhance the microbiome affects this relationship (Study 2). If you are interested in participating, please visit our website (www.gutbrain.bhismalab.org) or email our researchers at gutbrain@reading.ac.uk.

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Brain x-ray image

To participate in these studies, you must meet the following eligibility criteria:

  • Male
  • Right-handed
  • Caucasian
  • Between 18 and 50 years of age
  • Grew up in the UK or other European country
  • Body Mass Index 18.5 to 30 (if you are unsure of your BMI, you can check it here).

Unfortunately, we cannot include anyone with the following:

  • Current diagnosis of neurological or psychiatric condition
  • Use of antibiotics within the last 3 months
  • Current or history of regular smoking
  • Regular consumption of >14 units of alcohol per week
  • Current use of psychotropic drugs for medicinal or recreational purposes
  • Use of probiotic/prebiotic supplements
  • History or current diagnosis of gut microbiota related conditions such as inflammatory bowel disease or irritable bowel syndrome.

Let us know if you’re interested in taking part in this study