I was invited to speak at the Annual Meeting of the American Psychiatric Association (APA) recently in a debate addressing the question: Can Gut Microbiota Affect Mental Illness? The event was organized by Erika Nurmi, MD from the Semel Institute at UCLA and had a prestigious panel of discussants including James McCracken, MD (UCLA), Chadi Calarge, MD (Baylor) and Michele Pato, MD (Suny Downstate). The debate attracted an audience of some 700 attendees, reflecting the considerable interest of the topic to psychiatrists. I emphasized the growing evidence from human studies supporting a role of the gut microbiome in mental health, in particular in depression, as well as the growing evidence for a role of a healthy, “non-inflammatory” diet as an adjuvant therapy. However, I cautioned about the premature acceptance of pro- and prebiotics as effective therapies for depression (“psychobiotics”) and of stool testing for dysbiosis in the clinic.
Also, at the end of the session I was interviewed by David Careon and Jessi Gold from Stanford for the podcast Psyched.