The brain undergoes an amazing period of development after birth with the progressivematuration of the brain giving rise to theacquisition of psychomotor skills, language,social and emotional development andcognitive functions such as attention andlearning.
A 4-week-old fetus forms new neurons at a rate of 250,000 every minute. This rapid rate of development is reflected in the rates of glucose utilization. In the first 4 years the child’s brain utilizes twice as much energy in the form of glucose metabolism as that of adults.
This period of incredible and rapid development creates a window of opportunity in which the brain is particularly sensitive to experience and the acquisition of new information. The experiences a child has during this time will shape the architecture of his/her brain and neuronal connections
The advances in research in infant neurodevelopment highlight the crucial nature of experience in shaping the brain, the role of nutrition for health development and the importance of stimulating learning.
The gut-brain axis is a cutting-edge topic that refers to the liaison between cognitive and emotional centres in the brain and intestinal functions. Several early studies have shown that stress can perturb the composition of the microbiota which can affect behaviour, gene expression in the brain and the development of the nervous system. In this webinar, Prof. Sylvie Rabot adresses the brain and behavioural responses to stress, and how gut microbiota dysbiosis could contribute to the pathophysiology of anxiety and mood disorders in humans.
Sylvie Rabot is a Research scientist at INRAE (French National Institue for Agricultural Research) and MICALIS Institute. She is a member of the French Society for Microbiology, the French Neurosciences Society and the french Veterinary Academy. Author of more than 80 scientific publications, her current research activities are about the Microbiota Gut- Brain Axis.
The foundations of neurodevelopment across an individual’s lifespan are established in the first 1000 days of life (2 years). During this period an adequate supply of nutrients are essential for proper neurodevelopment and lifelong brain function. Of these, evidence for choline has been building but has not been widely collated using systematic approaches.
In this webinar, Dr. Ronchi goes into depth about the development of the gut microbiota, outlining interesting findings such as which gateway typically hosts the highest microbial diversity and the precise role of the microbiota in health and organ development. She also explains the current research advancements on the gut-brain axis, its processes and how it may affect our behaviour, brain function, and mental health. The current research she is undertaking at her laboratory is based on the following open questions about which she provides a detailed status update:
Dr. Ronchi is a Senior Researcher at the Department of BioMedical Research, Faculty of Medicine, at the University of Bern. She graduated from postdoctoral Research. She dedicates to understanding how the intestinal microbiota shapes and educates the host Central Nervous System (CNS) immune responses in steady-state and inflammatory conditions, particularly during autoimmunity for translational research in the field of neuro-immunological diseases. Dr. Ronchi received a Biostime Institute for Nutrition and Care (BINC) grant under our funding program 2019 on “The role of microbiota in brain homeostasis during adulthood and early life.”
Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) is the most common disorder of the gut-brain interactions diagnosed in gastroenterology in children and adults. In addition to the increased bowel reactions such as cramps and diarrhea, pain receptors seem to be more sensitive.
During infancy neural axons rapid myelination, slowly consolidates spatiotemporally until adulthood to ensure neurotransmission and brain functions. The prefrontal cortex, undergoing later myelination in new-born, is affected by neonatal intestinal microbial status, and highly implicated in the development of brain in early life.
Neonatalhypoxia-ischemia (HI) is a leading cause of mortality and chronic disability. Lactoferrin (Lf) is the major whey protein in milk presenting iron-binding, anti-inflammatory and antiapoptotic properties able to reverse HI brain damage.
This project will help to understand the basic mechanisms leading to learning and memory functions and this will pave the way for new discoveries to treat human populations affected by chronic neurological memory/cognitive disorders.
Composition of the gut microbiota can influence brain development and maternal nutrition can influence both offspring microbiota and brain neurogenesis and later cognitive and behavior (eating, social, locomotor, exploratory) abilities. We hypothesize that gut microbiota of preterm babies is a determinant of their developmental trajectories.
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