Research into the role of the gut microbiome in modulating brain function has rapidly increased over the past 10 years, albeit chiefly in animal models. Increasing clinical and preclinical evidence implicates the microbiome as a possible key susceptibility factor for neurological disorders, including Alzheimer's disease, autism spectrum disorder, multiple sclerosis, Parkinson's disease, and stroke. Cross-sectional clinical studies are bolstering the concept of altered microbial composition contributing to the pathophysiology of such diseases. However, the field is nascent, and interpretation of such data is often difficult given that the composition of the microbiome is influenced by various factors such as diet and exercise. Longitudinal studies and randomised controlled trials in humans are needed to find out if targeting the microbiome can yield novel therapeutic strategies. Systems biology approaches will also be important in integrating such data with genomic and metabolomic datasets from clinical cohorts with neurological disease to help guide individual treatment selection.
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