Microbes & Mental Health: A historical review of 400+ journal articles

The article: Microbes and Mental Illness: Past, Present, and Future by Bransfield R., Mao C. & Greenberg R. discusses the significant role infectious diseases can often have in triggering mental illnesses. The authors, three medical experts, have reviewed, categorized, and cited numerous peer-reviewed articles that establish a connection between specific microbes and common mental illnesses. This review is the first of its kind in approximately 30 years.

The authors argue that early identification and intervention of these triggers can prevent severe mental illnesses, reducing instances of hospitalization, homelessness, or incarceration. The diseases they reviewed include autism spectrum disorders, schizophrenia, bipolar disorders, depressive disorders, and anxiety disorders, and behaviors such as suicidality and violent behavior. They also reviewed five infectious diseases often linked with mental illness: syphilis; toxoplasmosis; COVID-19; Lyme borreliosis; and group A streptococcal infections.

The authors stress the importance of collaboration between psychiatry and infectious diseases specialists, as each tends to have limited knowledge of the other's domain. They hope their work will help bridge this knowledge gap and improve patient outcomes.

To read this open-source article, go here.

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