- Researchers report that gut microbiota might play a role in the development of Alzheimer’s disease.
- They say gut bacteria transferred from humans into rats produced some signs of dementia in the animals.
- The researchers said they hope their findings can eventually help in the development of methods to diagnose Alzheimer’s earlier.
In the study, the researchers transferred gut bacteria via fecal transplants from individuals with Alzheimer’s disease to young, healthy rats.
The researchers reported that after the transplants, the animals showed some signs of dementia, including producing fewer new nerve cells and exhibiting impaired memory.
The study authors note that people with Alzheimer’s usually do not receive a diagnosis until after the onset of cognitive symptoms. Earlier diagnosis would allow treatments to start sooner.
“Alzheimer’s is an insidious condition that there is yet no effective treatment for. This study represents an important step forward in our understanding of the disease, confirming that the make-up of our gut microbiota has a causal role in the development of the disease. This collaborative research has laid the groundwork for future research into this area and my hope is that it will lead to potential advances in therapeutic interventions.”
Diets, such as the MIND diet, can reduce the risk of developing Alzheimer’s, according to the
“It’s a mashup of the Mediterranean and DASH diets, which are also anti-inflammatory diet patterns, but the MIND diet seems to be even more beneficial for brain health than either one of those diets alone.”
Danahy told Medical News Today the MIND diet is “extremely flexible and easy to follow. She listed the suggested guidelines from this eating plan:
- 3+ servings a day of whole grains (oats, wild rice, quinoa, millet, whole grain bread)
- 6+ servings a week of green leafy vegetables (spinach, kale, arugula, Swiss chard, etc)
- 1+ servings a day of any other kind of vegetable
- 2+ servings a week of berries
- 5+ servings a week of nuts (a serving is about a handful)
- 4+ meals a week of beans
- 2+ meals a week of poultry
- 1+ meals a week of fish (preferably fatty fish like salmon or sardines
- olive oil
She also recommended reducing your intake of these foods:
- pastries and sweets
- red meat (including beef, pork, lamb, and products made from these meats)
- fried foods
- butter and margarine
She said it’s important to try various techniques to find out what works best for you. She recommended these activities:
- yoga or Tai Chi
- hiking or walking (outside in nature vs on the treadmill)
- 7-9 hours of sleep each night
- reducing screen time
“One other thing to add is that following an anti-inflammatory diet pattern and reducing stress are not only good for your brain, but they are also associated with a more diverse microbiota,” Danahy noted.
Currently, there is no cure for Alzheimer’s.
However, there are some treatments that help manage the symptoms, according to the
Some drugs approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) are most effective for people in the early or middle stages of Alzheimer’s. They help control or reduce some of the behavioral and cognitive symptoms of dementia. These include:
These medications lose effectiveness over time. Changing medications does not typically work to improve how well they work. However, some people respond better to one drug or another.
More than 6 million people in the United States live with Alzheimer’s disease and that is projected to increase to 13 million by 2050.
Alzheimer’s disease is the most common type of dementia, according to the
Alzheimer’s affects parts of the brain that control thought, memory, and language.
Early symptoms include mild memory loss. People may have difficulty conversing or responding appropriately to their environment late in the disease.
Some evidence shows that healthy behaviors might reduce the risk of cognitive decline.
Many people see memory loss and other early warning signs as normal for aging and do not seek medical help.
Early warning signs of Alzheimer’s include:
- memory loss that disrupts daily life (i.e., getting lost in a familiar place or repeating questions)
- difficulty paying bills and handling money
- problems completing familiar tasks at home or work
- misplacing things and being unable to retrace steps
- changes in mood, personality, or behavior
If someone exhibits some of these signs, it doesn’t mean they have Alzheimer’s. Other causes of these symptoms may also include vitamin B12 deficiency and medication side effects.
Nonetheless, if you or someone you know is experiencing any of these symptoms, it’s important to see a doctor for a professional opinion.