NOV 15, 2020 10:30 AM PST

Researchers Confirm Link Between Alzheimer's and Gut Bacteria

WRITTEN BY: Annie Lennon

Researchers from the University of Geneva in Switzerland have confirmed the link between an imbalance of gut bacteria and the development of amyloid-beta plaques in human brains, a widely used biomarker for Alzheimer's disease. 

Previous research has already found that people with neurodegenerative disorders tend to have different gut microbiota composition to those without. Given a previously-found association between an inflammatory phenomenon in the blood, certain intestinal bacteria, and Alzheimer's disease, the researchers wanted to test whether inflammation in the blood could mediate between the microbiota and the brain. 

To test out their hypothesis, they studied 89 people aged been 68 and 85. While some had Alzheimer's disease or another neurodegenerative disease resulting in similar memory problems, others did not. 

Using PET imaging, the researchers were able to measure amyloid deposition in their brains. They also analyzed their blood for the presence of various markers for inflammation and proteins produced by intestinal bacteria, including lipopolysaccharides and short-chain fatty acids. 

In the end, the researchers found that high levels of lipopolysaccharides and certain short-chain fatty acids (acetate and valerate) were linked to larger amyloid deposits in the brain. They also found that high levels of butyrate, another short-chain fatty acid, were associated with fewer amyloid plaques. 

As such, the researchers say that their findings provide clear evidence of a link between certain proteins in the gut microbiota and the build up of amyloid plaques through a blood inflammatory issue. The researchers now aim to identify the specific bacteria behind this phenomenon. 

Afterward, they hope to develop their findings into a viable treatment for neurodegenerative diseases. However, they say that neuroprotective effects are likely to only be felt at the very early stages of the disease and, as such, be considered more of a preventative strategy than a cure. 

 

Sources: Neuroscience NewsIOS Press

About the Author
  • Science writer with keen interests in technology and behavioral biology. Her current focus is on the interplay between these fields to create meaningful interactions, applications and environments.
You May Also Like
NOV 07, 2020
Neuroscience
Device Measures Stress Hormones with Earwax
NOV 07, 2020
Device Measures Stress Hormones with Earwax
Researchers from University College London and King’s College London in the UK have developed a device that can me ...
NOV 17, 2020
Genetics & Genomics
Why Mutations in RRP7 Cause a Congenital Brain Disorder
NOV 17, 2020
Why Mutations in RRP7 Cause a Congenital Brain Disorder
A large family with some members that have a rare brain disorder has helped scientists learn more about both brain devel ...
JAN 05, 2021
Drug Discovery & Development
Promising Epigenetic Treatment for Depression Works After One Dose
JAN 05, 2021
Promising Epigenetic Treatment for Depression Works After One Dose
Researchers affiliated with the University of Sao Paulo in Brazil have used epigenetic modulators to reduce stress-induc ...
FEB 10, 2021
Drug Discovery & Development
Ketamine Reduces Suicidal Thoughts in Patients with Depression
FEB 10, 2021
Ketamine Reduces Suicidal Thoughts in Patients with Depression
Ketamine has been known for some time for its ability to tackle depression. Now, however, researchers have found that or ...
FEB 23, 2021
Immunology
Immune Link Explains Why Personality Influences Mortality
FEB 23, 2021
Immune Link Explains Why Personality Influences Mortality
University of Limerick researchers have discovered direct links between the immune system, specific personality traits, ...
FEB 20, 2021
Neuroscience
Brain Activity Predicts Onset of PTSD
FEB 20, 2021
Brain Activity Predicts Onset of PTSD
Why is it that some people develop symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) after a stressful event, while othe ...
Loading Comments...