New Research Confirms Link between Gut Microbiota and Alzheimer’s Disease


In a groundbreaking study, researchers have discovered a direct link between gut microbiota and Alzheimer’s disease. This is the first time that Alzheimer’s symptoms have been shown to be transferable to a healthy organism via the gut microbiota, confirming its role in the development of the disease. Led by Professor Yvonne Nolan from APC Microbiome Ireland, the study highlights the gut microbiome as a key target for investigation in Alzheimer’s due to its susceptibility to lifestyle and environmental influences.

Published in the journal Brain, the study reveals that memory impairments in Alzheimer’s patients can be transferred to young animals through the transplantation of gut microbiota. Researchers found that Alzheimer’s patients had a higher abundance of inflammation-promoting bacteria in their fecal samples, and these changes were directly associated with their cognitive status. This suggests that understanding the role of gut microbes during the early stages of dementia could lead to new therapeutic approaches or individualized interventions.

Alzheimer’s disease is the most common cause of dementia, characterized by memory loss and cognitive decline that interferes with daily life. With the aging population, it is estimated that one in three individuals born today will develop Alzheimer’s. To combat this growing epidemic, researchers at University College Cork (UCC) in Ireland, funded by Science Foundation Ireland, are working to develop strategies that promote healthy brain aging and advance treatments for Alzheimer’s by investigating how the gut microbiota respond to lifestyle factors such as diet and exercise.

Professor Sandrine Thuret, one of the senior authors of the study and a professor of neuroscience at King’s College London, emphasizes the importance of this research in advancing our understanding of Alzheimer’s disease. She states that the study confirms the causal role of the gut microbiota in the development of the disease, and it paves the way for future research and potential advancements in therapeutic interventions.

The study was conducted by Dr. Stefanie Grabrucker, a postdoctoral researcher working with Professor Nolan, along with colleagues from King’s College London and IRCCS Fatebenefratelli in Italy. Collaborators from UCC included Professor Cora O’Neill, Dr. Olivia O’Leary, Dr. Sarah Nicolas, Dr. Jane English, Mr. Sebastian Dohm-Hansen, and Dr. Aonghus Lavelle. Professor John F. Cryan, UCC Vice President for Research and Innovation, who also played a role in the research, lauds the study for further enhancing our understanding of the significant role played by the gut microbiome in brain-related diseases such as Alzheimer’s.

This groundbreaking research aligns with the UCC Futures Framework and the strategic plan for the university in the areas of Food, Microbiome, and Health, as well as the forthcoming Future Ageing and Brain Science initiative. By unraveling the mysteries of the gut-brain connection, scientists are hopeful that they can develop more effective treatments and interventions for Alzheimer’s disease.


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