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.
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.
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.
The Healthy Mummy strives to keep you up to date with all breaking health news, visit here for the latest.