May 12, 2017

Rare brain defect linked to bacteria in the gut

Paul Sancya/AP

A new study found that a rare brain defect, which can lead to strokes and seizures, is caused by specific bacteria that live inside the gut.

What's next: Brain surgery is the only treatment after the defect is discovered. With these new findings, researchers hope that they will be able to use antibiotics and a fecal transplant to prevent the brain defects in children who inherit the mutated genes. It is too soon to say whether that approach will work though, another researcher not involved in the study told the New York Times.

The experiment: The scientists deleted defect-linked genes in mice and they developed malformations in the brain. When the researchers moved their lab to a different building, the mice no longer developed the lesions. They determined that the needle they used to inject the mice in the old building exposed them to a bacteria, leading them to develop lesions, connecting the microorganisms and the disease.

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