An illuminating new exhibition at Melbourne Museum Gut Feelings: Your Mind, Your Microbes proves that a healthy mind takes guts.
Microbes have gone mainstream. Gut health is having a zeitgeist moment. Kombucha and kimchi are currently gracing every café menu worth its weight in smashed avocado. Mental health is on our collective minds and we are getting better at talking about it every day. But whilst we all know that swigging kefir and eating our greens is "good for us", new science shows that our gut and mental health are linked in ways researchers are only just discovering.
Gut Feelings: Your Mind, Your Microbes, is a new exhibition developed by Melbourne Museum delving into just that. It draws on a diverse body of research to separate the real from the hype.
Gut Feelings explores new revelations that our minds, guts and microbes are inextricably linked. Visitors will be introduced to cutting edge research that articulates the far-reaching impact of gut microbes in the body; illustrating a new level of understanding of how the human body works. Made possible by advances in technology and stringent research, this visually stunning exhibition aims to separate scientific facts from the hashtag fads.
Gut Feelings isn't some stuffy old-fashioned museum exhibit with labels and things in glass cabinets. This multi-sensory experience is a prime example of how museums are engaging with visitors in new and unexpected ways. Art installations and object displays will leave you awestruck at the power of your own ecosystem; the helpful microbiome. There will be things to touch, splendid sounds, and unexpected sights. Move through spaces that use real science as a basis to challenge assumptions about what is inside you and the way that it works.
Consider this: you have more microbes inside you than there are stars in the Milky Way. You are not just you. You are a host for trillions of microbes, some are even beautiful. And it's clear that we are only just scratching the surface. Gut Feelings invites visitors along on this journey of discovery.
"Around 1-2kgs of you is microbes, and we're just now discovering the powerful reach of these little helpers", Dr Johanna Simkin, senior curator of human biology and medicine says. "Every month, new research further reveals the detail and precision of these microbe effects"it's given us a whole new understanding of how the human body works."
From poo transplants to probiotic rich diets, potential health applications could cure peanut allergies, decrease anxiety, and even form future autoimmune therapies. "We don't know if there is a single ultimate microbiome – yet," Dr Simkin says. "Fecal microbe transplants are an amazing research tool revealing these details and are being used as a therapy for serious gut problems."
Meet your microbes when Gut Feelings: Your Mind, Your Microbes opens March 16 at Melbourne Museum.