These days, gut bacteria have been implicated in everything from obesity to mood, but two new studies show they could also play a large role in an often debilitating autoimmune disease: multiple sclerosis.

One study, led by scientists at the University of California, San Francisco, analyzed the gut microbiomes of 71 healthy people and 71 people with MS. The MS patients were found to have four times as many Acienetobacter and Akkermansia bacteria as the healthy group. The healthy group, meanwhile, had four times as much Parabacteroides bacteria as the MS patients.

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[DIGEST: ScienceAlert, Imperial London College, US News]

What makes someone crave potato chips? Why is that plate of cookies so tempting? Some may blame willpower, but scientists have determined that bacteria may be responsible for these junk food cravings. Bacteria in the human gut tell the brain what to eat and how much. One particular type of bacteria, called propionate, produces a molecule that sends signals to the brain to stop eating, and scientists in London have been trying to boost the power of that molecule.

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