Amy Loughman

Amy Loughman
Deakin University · School of Medicine

BSc(Hons)/BA M.Psych (Clinical Neuropsychology)/PhD

About

49
Publications
9,856
Reads
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753
Citations
Introduction
Researcher of the gut-microbiota-brain axis. Clinically trained in neuropsychology. Fascinated by interactions between physical and mental health. PhD in the impact of genetic epilepsy on cognitive function. Passionate about research that underlies evidence-based health care. Writer, speaker, teacher, thinker. Thorough and systematic. Not afraid of statistics.
Additional affiliations
December 2017 - present
Deakin University
Position
  • Research Associate
Description
  • Research fellow leading the microbiome stream of research at the Food & Mood Centre. Focus on microbiome-brain health connections, in particular the statistical analysis techniques.
September 2016 - present
RMIT University
Position
  • Lecturer
February 2016 - present
Australian College of Applied Psychology
Position
  • Tutor
Description
  • Conduct online tutorials for second and third year neurosciences courses.
Education
June 2013 - February 2014
University of Melbourne
Field of study
  • Graduate teaching
February 2012 - July 2017
University of Melbourne
Field of study
  • Clinical Neuropsychology
January 2007 - December 2007
Université Jean Moulin Lyon 3
Field of study
  • Français, traduction, histoire moderne

Publications

Publications (49)
Article
Background A low FODMAP (fermentable oligosaccharides, disaccharides, monosaccharides and polyols) diet is increasingly used to manage symptoms in irritable bowel syndrome (IBS). While this approach may alter the colonic microbiome, the nature of these changes has not been comprehensively synthesized. Objectives The aim of this study was to conduc...
Article
Full-text available
There is continued debate regarding Parkinson’s disease etiology and whether it originates in the brain or begins in the gut. Recently, evidence has been provided for both, with Parkinson’s disease onset presenting as either a “body-first” or “brain-first” progression. Most research indicates those with Parkinson’s disease have an altered gut micro...
Article
Full-text available
The emerging understanding of gut microbiota as ‘metabolic machinery’ influencing many aspects of physiology has gained substantial attention in the field of psychiatry. This is largely due to the many overlapping pathophysiological mechanisms associated with both the potential functionality of the gut microbiota and the biological mechanisms thoug...
Article
Poor cognitive outcomes in early childhood predict poor educational outcomes and diminished health over the life course. We sought to investigate (i) whether maternal metabolites predict child cognition, and (ii) if maternal metabolomic profile mediates the relationship between environmental exposures and child cognition. Metabolites were measured...
Article
Full-text available
The particularly interdisciplinary nature of human microbiome research makes the organization and reporting of results spanning epidemiology, biology, bioinformatics, translational medicine and statistics a challenge. Commonly used reporting guidelines for observational or genetic epidemiology studies lack key features specific to microbiome studie...
Article
Measures to control the COVID-19 pandemic have disrupted social networks and employment security worldwide. Longitudinal data in representative samples are required to understand the corresponding mental health impacts. We aimed to estimate the prevalence of depressive symptoms in Australian women raising young families during the first Victorian l...
Article
Full-text available
Neuroplasticity underpins motor learning, with abnormal neuroplasticity related to age-associated motor declines. Bilateral transfer of motor learning, through rehabilitation, may mitigate these declines, however the magnitude of transfer may be reduced in older populations. This study investigated excitatory and inhibitory pathways in the trained...
Article
Full-text available
This study aimed to investigate the relationships between diet quality, the relative abundance of butyrate-producing bacteria of the gut microbiome and muscle mass, strength and function. In this cross-sectional study, n = 490 men (64.4 ± 13.5 years) from the Geelong Osteoporosis Study provided food frequency questionnaire data, from which the Aust...
Article
Background At a population level, the relation between dairy consumption and gut microbiome composition is poorly understood. Objectives We sought to study the cross-sectional associations between individual dairy foods (i.e., milk, yogurt, and cheese), as well as total dairy intake, and the gut microbiome composition in a large, representative sa...
Article
Full-text available
Background Murine studies demonstrate that maternal prenatal gut microbiota influences brain development and behaviour of offspring. No human study has related maternal gut microbiota to behavioural outcomes during early life. This study aimed to evaluate relationships between the prenatal faecal microbiota, prenatal diet and childhood behaviour....
Article
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A growing body of evidence suggests that diet quality may predict muscle health. This study found that a "Traditional" dietary pattern predicted greater muscle mass, and an anti-inflammatory diet predicted greater muscle mass and better muscle function over 15 years. These findings reinforce the importance of optimising dietary behaviours for healt...
Article
Objective The current study aimed to assess the association between dairy consumption and constipation in the general adult population. Design Data from the Geelong Osteoporosis Study were used to assess the association between dairy consumption and constipation in women ( n=632) and men ( n=609). Information on milk, yogurt and cheese, and consti...
Article
Objective: Gastrointestinal (GI) disturbances are a frequent and burdensome experience for patients with anorexia nervosa (AN). How GI symptoms respond to current interventions is not well characterized, yet is critical to facilitate treatment success, and to inform the development of new treatments for AN. Therefore, the aim of this systematic re...
Article
Full-text available
Low muscle mass is associated with reduced independence and increased risk for falls and fractures. Identification of modifiable risk factors for low muscle mass is thus imperative. This study aimed to examine the longitudinal relationship between both diet quality and patterns and lean mass in Australian women. Data from n=494 participants of the...
Chapter
There is accumulating evidence from observational and intervention studies in nutritional psychiatry regarding the importance of diet for mental health outcomes across the lifespan. Here, we synthesise this evidence, including findings from large meta-analyses showing cross-sectional and prospective associations between diet quality and mental heal...
Article
Anorexia nervosa is a serious psychiatric disorder with high morbidity and mortality rate. Evidence for the optimal psychopharmacological approach to managing the disorder remains limited, with nutritional treatment, focused on weight restoration through the consumption of high energy diet, regarded as one of the fundamental steps in treatment. The...
Article
Full-text available
This systematic review and meta‐analysis investigated the association between consumption of ultraprocessed food and noncommunicable disease risk, morbidity and mortality. Forty‐three observational studies were included (N = 891,723): 21 cross‐sectional, 19 prospective, two case‐control and one conducted both a prospective and cross‐sectional analy...
Article
Full-text available
The effects of dairy and dairy-derived products on the human gut microbiota remains understudied. A systematic literature search was conducted using Medline, CINAHL, Embase, Scopus, and PubMed databases with the aim of collating evidence on the intakes of all types of dairy and their effects on the gut microbiota in adults. Risk of bias was assesse...
Article
Full-text available
The intestinal microbiome has been identified as a key modifier for a variety of health conditions. Fecal Microbiota Transplantation (FMT) has emerged as a fast, safe, and effective means by which to modify the intestinal microbiome and potentially treat a variety of health conditions. Despite extensive research of FMT for CDI, there is a lack of c...
Article
Objective The gut bacterium Akkermansia muciniphila (A. muciniphila), has been linked to body composition and metabolism. However, the role of lifestyle factors and medication use in these relationships has not been considered. This study aimed to assess the relative abundance of A. muciniphila in participants and investigate its association with o...
Article
Full-text available
This systematic review investigated the effects of ultra-processed very low-energy diets on gut microbiota and metabolic outcomes in individuals with obesity. MEDLINE complete, EMBASE, Scopus, Cochrane and CINAHL were searched between date of inception and October 2019. Seven trials were reviewed (a total of 130 participants, with 10 to 44 particip...
Article
Infant colic is a condition of unknown cause which can result in carer distress and attachment difficulties. Recent studies have implicated the gut microbiota in infant colic, and certain probiotics have demonstrated possible efficacy. We aim to investigate whether the intestinal microbiota composition in infants with colic is associated with cry/f...
Article
The 'Dual Hit' hypothesis, stating that Parkinson's disease (PD) begins via olfactory pathways and the gut, and the gastrointestinal symptoms PD individuals face, have largely driven the interest of the gut's involvement in PD. Studies have since observed gut microbiota differences between PD groups and controls, with these alterations potentially...
Article
Full-text available
Background: Despite intense interest in the relationship between gut microbiota and brain development, longitudinal data from human studies are lacking. This study aimed to investigate the relationship between the composition of gut microbiota during infancy and subsequent behavioural outcomes. Methods: A subcohort of 201 children with behaviour...
Article
Systematic reviews of nutritional interventions indicate limited efficacy in reducing childhood obesity, but their blanket conclusions could obscure promising components. This narrative review sought more detail on effective components within nutrition‐related interventions involving children aged 2 to 11 years. In May 2016, the World Health Organi...
Article
Beyond being a source of key nutrients, bovine milk influences physiological functions by synthesising bioactive peptides during the process of digestion. Some of the claimed negative health outcomes associated with milk consumption, such as cardiovascular diseases and type 1 diabetes may be attributed to an opioid peptide, beta-casomorphin-7 (BCM-...
Article
Context: Saffron (Crocus sativus L.) has gained interest as a potential treatment in psychiatry. Objective: This systematic review and meta-analysis sought to investigate the effect of saffron supplementation, as both an adjunctive therapy and monotherapy, on symptoms of depression and anxiety in clinical and general populations compared with ph...
Article
Full-text available
Rapidly accumulating evidence supports the important role of gut microbiome in the regulation of mood, behaviour, appetite, gastrointestinal symptomology, and nutrient metabolism. These are all core features frequently altered in individuals with anorexia nervosa (AN). Current treatment recommendations for AN support the use of high-calorie diets a...
Article
Blueberries are rich in polyphenols that may be beneficial to cognitive performance and mood. The aim of this systematic review was to evaluate randomized controlled trials investigating the effects of blueberries and blueberry products on measures of cognition and mood. In total, eleven articles (that included 12 studies) were identified using fre...
Article
Full-text available
Genetic and other biological explanations appear to have mixed blessings for the stigma of mental disorder. Meta-analytic evidence shows that these “biogenetic” explanations reduce the blame attached to sufferers, but they also increase aversion, perceptions of dangerousness, and pessimism about recovery. These relationships may arise because bioge...
Article
Full-text available
Objectives: Excessive consumption of high fat and high sugar (HFHS) diets alters reward processing, behaviour, and changes gut microbiota profiles. Previous studies in gnotobiotic mice also provide evidence that these gut microorganisms may influence social behaviour. To further investigate these interactions, we examined the impact of the intermi...
Preprint
Full-text available
Excessive consumption of high fat and high sugar (HFHS) diets are known to alter reward processing and aspects of behaviour, and change microbiota profiles. Studies in gnotobiotic mice also provide evidence that gut microorganisms influence social behaviour. To further investigate these interactions, the impact of intermittent access to a HFHS diet...
Article
Background: Maternal shared reading practices predict emergent literacy, but fathers' contributions are less certain. We examined whether fathers' shared home reading activities at 2 years (1) predict language and emergent literacy at age 4 years, when controlling for maternal contributions; and (2) differentially benefit these outcomes in disadva...
Article
Obesity is an increasing problem in young people. Childhood obesity and overweight have increased rapidly on a global scale, and have tripled in the past 30 years, to affect approximately one in five children. Diets high in refined fats and sugar are a major contributor to the development of obesity, and the effects of such obesity-inducing hyperca...
Article
Full-text available
Psychiatric disorders and associated poor psychosocial outcomes are recognised to be a common sequelae of epilepsy. The extent to which this is true of genetic generalised epilepsies (GGE), particularly syndromes other than juvenile myoclonic epilepsy (JME) is unclear. This systematic review synthesises findings regarding psychiatric and associated...
Article
Background and purpose: Considered to be benign conditions, the common genetic generalized epilepsy (GGE) syndromes are now known to be frequently accompanied by cognitive dysfunction. However, unresolved issues impede clinical management of this common comorbidity, including which cognitive abilities are most affected, whether there are differenc...
Article
Reduced cognitive functioning has been documented in the genetic generalized epilepsies (GGE). Among a number of hypothesized causal mechanisms, some evidence from other epilepsy syndromes suggests the impact of epileptiform discharges. This study investigates the relationship between cognitive function in GGE and burden of epileptiform discharges...
Article
Full-text available
Externalising and internalising problems affect one in seven school-aged children and are the single strongest predictor of mental health problems into early adolescence. As the burden of mental health problems persists globally, childhood prevention of mental health problems is paramount. Prevention can be offered to all children (universal) or to...

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Projects

Projects (6)
Project
The collection of commensal microorganisms (microbiome) inhabiting our gut is rapidly emerging as pivotal for the programming of our immunity, metabolism and risk for chronic cardiometabolic and neurocognitive conditions. Together, these pose the greatest financial burden on the healthcare system. Although we know that early life factors such as birth mode and breastfeeding influence the composition of the gut microbiome, we know very little about how long these effects last and how they can be modulated by changes in modifiable environments, such as diet, to influence disease risk. However, we do know that such diseases have early life precedents including BMI and other cardiometabolic parameters. Furthermore, evidence has shown that gut microbiome matures to an adult-like state by 2-5 years of age
Project
Low muscle mass is associated with reduced independence and increased risk for falls and fractures. Identification of modifiable risk factors for low muscle mass is thus imperative. This study aimed to examine the longitudinal relationship between both diet quality and patterns and lean mass in Australian women.
Project
Research investigating the roles of individual nutrients in muscle health fails to account for the synergistic relationships between foods and nutrients. This study aimed to investigate the predictive value of diet quality and dietary patterns for muscle mass and function in men over a 15-year period.