Microbiome and Metabolome Profiles of High Screen Time in a Cohort of Healthy College Students
As screens are increasingly integrated into every facet of modern life, there is growing concern over the potential effects of high screen time. Previous studies have largely utilized self-report data on mood and behavioral aspects of screen time. In this study, we explored the fecal microbiome and metabolome of a diverse group of 60 college students, classified by high (≥ 75 min/day) or low (0-75 min/day) self-reported screen time using 16S rRNA amplicon sequencing, targeted liquid chromatography-tandem mass spectrometry, and targeted short-chain fatty acid detection using gas chromatography-mass spectrometry. Several key taxa and metabolites were significantly altered between groups and found to be highly co-occurrent. Pathway and enzyme enrichment analyses indicated widespread dysfunction of amino acid metabolism. High screen time was also predicted to be associated with type I diabetes, obesity, chronic fatigue syndrome, and various manifestations of inflammatory bowel. These results provide a data-driven hypothesis for future experimental research.