Health

Gut Bacteria Breakthrough May Play A Role Preventing Alzheimer’s Disease

New research from Lund University in Sweden has shown that intestinal bacteria can accelerate the development of Alzheimer’s disease. Researchers behind the study say the results open up the door to new opportunities for preventing and treating the disease.

Gut Bacteria May Play A Role In Alzheimer’s Disease 1

A Much-Feared Disease

Alzheimer’s disease is the most common form of dementia in the western world, however there is no cure available for this devastating neuro-degenerative disorder.

There’s nearly 500,000 Australian’s living with dementia and it’s the second leading cause of death of Australians.

While there is no cure, researchers across the globe are searching for answers, and it appears one researcher has discovered a causal link between gut bacteria and Alzheimer’s disease in mice.

According to a press release from the Lund University in Sweden, our gut bacteria has a major impact on how we feel through the interaction between the immune system, the intestinal mucosa and our diet.

As such the composition of the gut microbiota is of great interest to research on diseases such as Alzheimer’s.

Exactly how our gut microbiota composition is composed depends on which bacteria we receive at birth, our genes and our diet.

Study Of Mice Reveals Breakthrough

By studying both healthy and diseased mice, researchers from Lund University found that mice suffering from Alzheimer’s have a different composition of gut bacteria compared to mice that are healthy.

The researchers also studied Alzheimer’s disease in mice that completely lacked bacteria to further test the relationship between intestinal bacteria and the disease.

They found mice without bacteria had a significantly smaller amount of beta-amyloid plaque in the brain.

Beta-amyloid plaques are the lumps that form at the nerve fibres in cases of Alzheimer’s disease.

To clarify the link between intestinal flora and the occurrence of the disease, the researchers transferred intestinal bacteria from diseased mice to germ-free mice.

They discovered that the mice developed more beta-amyloid plaques in the brain compared to if they had received bacteria from healthy mice.

Gut Bacteria May Play A Role In Alzheimer’s Disease

Researchers Calls Discovery Major Breakthrough

Associate Professor Frida Fåk Hållenius is a researcher at the university’s Food for Health Science Centre.

“Our study is unique as it shows a direct causal link between gut bacteria and Alzheimer’s disease,” she says.

“It was striking that the mice which completely lacked bacteria developed much less plaque in the brain.

“The results mean that we can now begin researching ways to prevent the disease and delay the onset.

“We consider this to be a major breakthrough as we used to only be able to give symptom-relieving antiretroviral drugs.”

Researchers will continue to study the role of bacteria in the development of Alzheimer’s disease.

They then intend to test entirely new types of preventive and therapeutic strategies based on the modulation of the gut microbiota through diet and new types of probiotics.

If you’d like more information visit Lund University or read the full study here.

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written by:

Emily Toxward

When former journalist Emily Toxward isn’t wrangling her three kids she’s juggling the demands writing and failing fabulously at being a domestic goddess. A published writer for nearly 20 years, Emily left full-time work in 2008 to have children and write from home. Always on the go, she spends her days negotiating with an army of little people she created and visits her local Gold Coast beaches for a little sanity.