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Researchers are studying the role of the gut microbiome

Researchers are studying the role of the gut microbiome

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In a current study, American researchers are examining the role of the gut microbiome in the development of age-related diseases such as Alzheimer's disease.

Many diseases have an origin in the gut – the development of Alzheimer's can also be linked to the gut microbiome, i.e. the microorganisms found in the intestines. Although Alzheimer's disease first appears through forgetfulness and behavioral changes, the disease is not limited to the brain. Age-related disease can be due to decreased levels of chronic inflammation. The researchers have now investigated what happens in the gut in the current study. The results were published in the specialized journal “Scientific reports“Posted.

Sick microbiome, sick brain? Communication between the gut and the brain

Forgetfulness and other cognitive problems are the first signs of Alzheimer's disease. However, the disease may begin in the intestines. © Bond5 Images/Imago

Indeed, according to Global Health Organization About 50 million people worldwide suffer from Alzheimer's disease or another form of dementia. However, in the next few years, many more people may suffer the consequences of Alzheimer's disease. In order to be able to treat the disease early or even prevent it, researchers are searching for the origin of dementia. This is likely in the intestine, as current studies suggest.

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Its predecessors Animal studies on mice It has already shown that Alzheimer's disease can be transmitted to young mice via the transmission of intestinal microbes. So there is a connection Between the digestive system and brain healthQ: The current study conducted by an international research team led by study author Margo Heston supports this theory. Thus inflammation could be the underlying mechanism.

Current study conducted by the University of Wisconsin: The origin lies in the intestinal mucosa

As part of the study, the researchers analyzed University of Wisconsin Stool samples from a total of 125 subjects for fecal calprotectin. This protein indicates the presence of so-called neutrophils in the intestinal lining. These, in turn, are linked to inflammation. In addition to stool samples, participants had to complete a battery of cognitive tests, as well as interviews about family history and tests for the Alzheimer's risk gene. Part of the group also underwent clinical examinations for signs of amyloid protein plaques. These are considered a major harbinger of neurodegenerative disease.

High levels of inflammation in the intestines in Alzheimer's patients

“People with Alzheimer's disease seem to have more inflammation in the intestines. “In brain imaging studies, those with greater intestinal inflammation had a greater accumulation of amyloid plaques in the brain,” explains psychologist Barbara Bendlin of Harvard University. University of Wisconsin To Science magazine Science Alert. In addition, the characteristic amyloid plaques are also increased in affected patients Biomarkers of Alzheimer's disease With inflammation values, in addition, the results of memory tests decreased depending on the level of calprotectin.

The results of the current study confirm previous studies. American researchers University of Nevada For example, it has been found that certain intestinal bacteria can stimulate inflammatory signals in the brain. The research team found that Alzheimer's patients had increased levels of inflammation in the intestines compared to the control group. This may be because changes in the microbiome cause system-level inflammation, according to Margo Heston. According to experts, this inflammation is mild but chronic. In further studies, doctors now want to know whether there is more than just a relationship between gut bacteria and Alzheimer's disease or whether the microbiome is actually involved in the development of the disease.

This article only contains general information about the health topic in question and is therefore not intended for self-diagnosis, treatment or medication. It does not, in any way, replace a visit to a doctor. Our editorial team is not permitted to answer individual questions about medical conditions.