Research finds a link between the gut and preclinical Alzheimer’s disease
Dementia now the seventh leading cause of death1 and one of the leading causes of disability worldwide among the elderly, along with Alzheimer’s disease (AD) 60-70% of cases of dementia1.
There is currently no cure for AD. But the earlier you can spot its signs, the better, and new insights into the relationship between the gut microbiome and dementia may help with early detection.
A recent study published in Science translational medicine2 found that the gut microbiomes of symptomatic Alzheimer’s patients differed from those of cognitively healthy controls eating a similar diet.
For the cross-sectional study, the researchers took gut microbiome samples from 164 people, 49 of whom had biomarker evidence of early preclinical Alzheimer’s disease. Those with preclinical AD were more likely to have certain gut bacteria than those without preclinical AD.
Knowing these unique features of the microbiome could eventually help improve the accuracy, sensitivity, and specificity of AD testing, the researchers say. However, they have not yet established a causal relationship. Although they found a correlation between these microbiome features and preclinical AD, they cannot say for sure whether these microbiome changes cause dementia or vice versa.
All of this is to say that this area of dementia research is still in its early stages, and more research is needed. Nevertheless, this finding may have major implications for preclinical dementia care. The stool sample method is much more accessible and affordable than many traditional methods such as spinal taps and brain scans.