Gut bacteria linked to dementia risk

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By Alice Tuohy | Wednesday 30 January 2019

Poster Presentation: American Stroke Association’s International Stroke Conference 2019: Gut Microbiota and Dementia: A Cross-Sectional Study

Researchers in Japan have studied the make-up of 128 people’s stool samples finding differences in the type and level of gut bacteria present in people with dementia and those without the condition. The results have been presented in a poster today (Wednesday 30 January) at American Stroke Association’s International Stroke Conference 2019.

Dr Sara Imarisio, Head of Research from Alzheimer’s Research UK, said:

“It can be a little surprising to discover that bacteria in the gut could affect the health of our brains, but there is a growing body of evidence that supports this link.

“While these new results reveal differences in the makeup of gut bacteria between people with and without dementia, this study doesn’t tell us if these directly impact a person’s dementia risk. We will need to wait until the researchers publish their full findings before we can tell what further insights we can glean from this study.

“Research into the links between gut bacteria and dementia risk is gaining momentum, and it is among the topics being explored by scientists at the UK Dementia Research Institute, the country’s largest dementia research initiative. Unpicking the microscopic details underpinning gut-brain interactions could open the door to new ways to help maintain a healthy brain into old age.

“The make-up of gut bacteria is influenced by both genetics and our lifestyle, so it is one of a number of potential dementia risk factors that we could influence by leading a healthy life. To maintain a healthy brain as we age the best current evidence suggests that we keep physically fit, eat a balanced diet, maintain a healthy weight, not smoke, only drink within the recommended limits and keep blood pressure and cholesterol in check.”

About the author

Alice Tuohy