Gut Bacteria Can Affect Your Mental Health

Gut bacteria is the ‘good bacteria’ in your stomach that helps regulate your bowel, aides in your digestion and keeps your microbes at healthy levels. If your gut bacteria is not working properly then you can suffer constipation, diarrhoea, flatulence, bloating, acid reflux and many more gastric conditions. If your gut is not working properly for a long period of time it can result in serious illnesses such as irritable bowel syndrome or even diverticulitis etc. Gut bacteria are necessary as they are the bacteria that keep your whole digestive system stable. They are the bacteria that antibiotics kills off so if you are sick a lot and need to take a lot of antibiotics then your gut bacteria will be deficient. This will result in diarrhoea. When you take antibiotics all the gut bacteria almost are destroyed. However your gut bacteria isn’t often thought of as being the probable cause of some mental health issue.

More recent research however shows that a species of bacteria called Gamma-aminobutyric acid or GABA, can affect someone’s mental health if there is a lack of this substance. If you are missing GABA you can be diagnosed as suffering from Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) and fatigue but often it is overlooked that you could be also suffering from an inability to handle stress which can lead to anxiety, depression and even autism.GABA is a neurotransmitter that sends chemical messages to the brain and nervous system. It is also involved in regulating the communication between our brain cells. Research has shown that GABA can control anxiety, fear and affect our behaviour so when it is low we don’t feel as calm or relaxed or sleep too well. Northeastern University have discovered a specific bacteria in the gut (called Bacteroides fragilisKLE1758) that actually consumes GABA. Further studies need to be done in this area before information confuses the public but this new information is perhaps a good insight to explain the link between our gut and mental health issues.The good news is that GABA can be raised naturally with foods high in magnesium and vitamin B. It’s a good idea to take a natural multi-vitamin daily as none of us eat perfectly every day and a supplement will ensure you don’t become deficient in vitamins and minerals. Green tea and camomile are also good for increasing these bacteria levels. These vitamins and foods have shown in some tests to increase gut bacteria and in turn the person’s mental health abilities increase also. There are also many other natural ways to increase mental health, handle stress, anxiety and depression. Consult your natural therapist to find out what you need to do if you are suffering from any of these illnesses.

GABA therefore has the potential to be a good supplement if you are feeling a little off or have been suffering from bad anxiety, depression, or even PMS. Remember that often your mood can be affected by your hormone levels and whether your thyroid is operating properly. GABA however can increase your mood affecting your emotions and putting a positive slant on your perspective. It is hoped that further studies will reveal to what extent GABA can assist in mood stabilisation.

Microservices Test Automation – What You Need to Know

There is now constant pressure on technologies to adopt and align themselves to the changing needs of the business environment. Modern day engineering demands greater scalability, cross-platform capabilities, and faster deliveries. Hence the need for a software architecture that is flexible and that helps in creating systems that are more scalable, more resilient, flexible and can facilitate faster development.Unlike monolithic services architectures, Microservices architecture helps organizations create decoupled and independent processes and services that are easier to deploy and manage. The aim is not have inter-modular dependencies. Hence faster releases are facilitated by separating the application in smaller components that can be composed easily, and independently. The application developed using microservices architecture thus, is the sum of these individual components that communicate freely with one another and deliver greater functionality. Since the application components are independent of one another it makes them independently deployable and testable as well. However, designing a testing strategy for Microservices can be challenging. It demands the right use of tools, technologies, and frameworks to provide support to every testing layer. The independent micro-units must be thoroughly tested before integration with the larger application or application ecosystem. Otherwise, the cost of correction post integration can be huge.

Challenges in Microservices testing
Given that microservices development is distributed and independent in nature, testing strategies that applied to monolithic architectures cannot apply here. Microservices applications have to deliver on high performance and functionality, which demands that each layer of the application is thoroughly tested.

Some of the challenges faced during microservices testing are:
Inclination to use Web API testing tools that are typically built around SOA testing
Timely availability of all services for testing since these services are developed by different teams
Since the services are expected to be independent of one another despite being a part of an interconnected structure it becomes essential to test each component individually and also as a complete system
Dependencies on other services for data and layered interactions, makes end to end flows challenging to accomplish
Guarantee of a dedicated test environment can be a challenge as the development process is agile and not integrated. Also the development of each microservice might proceed on separate timelines. Hence deploying a system that is testable end-to-end might not always be possible.
Complicated extraction of logs during testing and data
To overcome the challenges in Microservices testing and in automating that testing, it helps to adopt a bottom-up approach to testing as depicted in Mike Cohn’s Testing Pyramid. This approach also helps in identifying how much automation effort needs to be factored in at each stage of the testing process.

Unit testing
Since unit tests are larger in volume and number and internal to the service, they render themselves well to automation testing. Unit testing in microservices has to check the module behaviors by observing their interactions between objects and their dependencies and also has to observe the change in their state. The testing approach demands an amalgamation of solitary unit testing and sociable unit testing. At the same time, it is imperative to ascertain that testing of the behavior under test does not constrain the implementation. This can be achieved by constantly questioning the value a unit test provides in comparison to the maintenance costs or the number of implementation constraints.

Contract testing
The microservices architecture depends heavily on the communication between service components. Hence it is essential to check the communication while the internal implementation of services remains independent. The API’s and interfaces remain consistent as well. Since API’s can be subject to change when the service is exposed, it becomes key to define a contract for the API. By automating contract testing, testing teams can check if the agreed contract is well preserved and that the input and output of service calls meet the contract expectation.

Integration testing
Integration testing in microservices checks the several communication paths and the service components and assesses if the modules under test collaborate as intended. For integration tests, the aim is to closely test the behavior of the unit being tested and not the entire subsystem. While automating testing for integration tests, it is essential to write the tests for the modules that interact with external components to ascertain that the module can communicate clearly with those external components. Gateway integration tests and persistence integration tests provide fast feedbacks by assessing the correctness of logic by assessing the logic regressions and identifying breakage between external components.

End-to-end testing
End-to-end testing comes at the top of the testing pyramid with the intent of verifying that the whole system meets the external requirements and the business goals. End-to-End tests are essential to check that all the moving parts within the microservices architecture work as intended. This stage must verify if there are any gaps between services, assess the correctness of the system by observing state changes, and see how the integrated system functions.

Service Virtualization
We should add this point as this is very relevant in this context. Especially when you are testing end-to-end system and some microservices are not ready, how would you test the system? Service virtualization is used in such circumstances.

Along with this, testing teams also can look at automating UI and Functional testing to ensure that all interfaces, databases, third-party, as well as internal sources, can work seamlessly and in a cohesive manner with one another. Given the scope of automation testing in microservices, testers can also leverage scriptless test automation to simplify the automation process and get the test automation ball rolling faster to test each component with greater precision to deliver a thoroughly tested and superior microservices product.