Alzheimer's: Scientists discover the surprising link between the disease and your stomach

Scientists have discovered a direct link between Alzheimer's disease and intestinal microbiota. Here's what it means.

Alzheimer's disease link brain gut intestinal health
© Robina Weermeijer / Unsplash
Alzheimer's disease link brain gut intestinal health

Experts estimate that around 35 million people worldwide are affected by Alzheimer's disease, a progressive neurodegenerative pathology. In practice, this translates into the progressive deterioration of brain cells. Memory loss, thought and behaviour disorders are just some of the consequences. Scientists have found a link between intestinal microbiota and the disease.

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Alzheimer's and your stomach

A study published in the scientific journal Brain reports the discovery. Alzheimer's disease may take place in the brain, but it's in the belly that it's most likely to be triggered. To reach this conclusion, researchers conducted a laboratory experiment. They transplanted the microbiota of patients suffering from the disease into healthy animals. After analysis, they realized that Alzheimer's symptoms had appeared.

It's not the first time researchers have discovered that the brain and intestines communicate with each other. Indeed, the intestines are rightly referred to as the second brain. But this is the first time the link has been made with Alzheimer's disease. The animals on which the experiment was conducted showed a decline in the growth of new nerve cells in the hippocampus. This is the region of the brain where immediate memory is processed.

Reducing the onset of disease

Doctors are clear. While the disease cannot be cured (it remains incurable to this day), the aim is to delay its onset by improving the health of one's microbiota and therefore one's quality of life. Every year, 7.7 million new cases are detected. 40% of these could be avoided by controlling the factors that trigger or accelerate the disease.

These are the findings of a study published in The Lancet. Prevention includes correcting hearing loss, maintaining good blood pressure, reducing alcohol consumption and not eating ultra-processed foods.

Alzheimer's disease is a form of dementia that is not part of the normal aging process. It progresses through several stages, from the mildest to the most severe, including total loss of autonomy.

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This article has been translated from Gentside FR.

Sources used:

Brain: Beyond the brain: The gut microbiome and Alzheimer’s disease

The Lancet: Dementia research in 2023: the year of anti-amyloid immunotherapy

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