Going With Your Gut: Are the bacteria in your gut making you depressed? A study in the journal Nature provides evidence that there is a correlation between a person’s mental health and their microbiota. Researchers used DNA sequencing to analyze the microbiota of people enrolled in Belgium’s Flemish Gut Flora Project. They discovered that people with depression showed a reduction in the presence of two bacterial families, Coprococcus and Dialister. There was also a positive correlation between quality of life and ability of microbes in the gut to synthesize a breakdown product of dopamine. The authors note that thus far, these are strong correlations but by no means cause and effect. https://go.nature.com/2t5KcRr

Back In Hot Water: Executives from several large pharmaceutical companies have been told to appear before the U.S. Congress Senate Finance Committee. It will be the second drug pricing hearing of the new year. Leaders from AbbVie, AstraZenaca, Bristol-Myers Squibb, Johnson & Johnson, Merck & Co., Pfizer, and Sanofi have been summoned. Five of the seven invited companies are currently being investigated by the House Committee on Oversight and Reform. http://bit.ly/2HW7cfX

Stay Out of the Hole Though: Bloomberg are reporting that a version of the popular club kid drug, ketamine, is expected to be approved for treating depression in March. The variation being developed by Johnson & Johnson would be used for treatment resistant depression and suicidal. https://bloom.bg/2HVVAtr

Race of the Rat Cyborgs: Scientists in China have been able to create a brain-to-brain interface between “rat cyborgs” and a human being. The rats were subjected to a number of tests, the most complex of which was to navigate a complicated maze. The human was able to guide the rats through the maze at least 10 consecutive times. While this is not the first brain-to-brain interface, the results were impressive nonetheless. http://bit.ly/2HVGunE

Trouble in Mind: And finally, the days for reporters may be numbered. An increasing number of news organizations are relying on automated technologies to crank out dry, but necessary, forms of news articles. Corporate earnings summaries have proven ripe for this kind of technology and Bloomberg has utilized it to their advantage. Other areas where robo-journalists are doing the grunt work are minor league baseball game recaps (The Associated PRess), high school football (Washington Post), and earthquake news (Los Angeles Times. The Guardian and Forbes have also joined the party. https://nyti.ms/2t5p1yK

IMAGE SOURCE: Creative Commons

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