What role does gut health play in Alzheimer's disease?
A clear link between bowel disease and Alzheimer's disease has now been identified. This indicates the important role gut health plays in the development of Alzheimer's disease. The new findings could lead to earlier diagnosis of Alzheimer's disease and new types of treatment.
In a new study involving experts from Edith Cowan University (ECU), several genome-wide association studies with summary statistics were analyzed for the first time to assess the relationship between Alzheimer's disease and intestinal diseases. The results were published in the journal Communications Biology.
Genetic data has been assessed
For their current research, the experts evaluated extensive genetic data on Alzheimer's disease and various bowel diseases from various studies, each including around 400,000 participants.
There have been studies in the past that have suggested a link between Alzheimer's disease and disorders of the gastrointestinal tract. However, the factors behind this association were unclear, the team said.
According to study author Dr. Emmanuel Adewuyi has published the first comprehensive review of the genetic relationship between Alzheimer's disease and various intestinal disorders. The results provide new insights into these associations by confirming a genetic link between Alzheimer's disease and several gut disorders.
"The study provides new insights into the genetics behind the observed co-occurrence of Alzheimer's disease and intestinal disorders," Dr. Adewuyi reports in a press release. Researchers have found that people with Alzheimer's disease and gut disorders share common genes.
New targets identified for treating Alzheimer's?
"This improves our understanding of the causes of these diseases and identifies new targets that can be studied to potentially detect the disease earlier and develop new treatments for both types of diseases," adds the doctor.
According to study author Professor Simon Laws, the new study does not support the conclusion that bowel disease causes Alzheimer's disease or vice versa. Nevertheless, the results are of great value.
"These results provide further support for the concept of the gut-brain axis, a mutual connection between the cognitive and emotional centers of the brain and the functioning of the gut," says Professor Laws.
What role does cholesterol play?
By analyzing shared genetics, researchers have identified other important links between Alzheimer's disease and gut disorders, including the role cholesterol may play. Abnormal cholesterol levels put you at risk for Alzheimer's disease and intestinal disorders, points out Dr. adewuyi
“Examination of the common genetic and biological characteristics of Alzheimer's disease and these intestinal diseases suggests an important role for lipid metabolism, the immune system and cholesterol-lowering drugs,” adds the doctor.
Dangers to the brain of high cholesterol
Although the common mechanisms of the two diseases need further investigation, according to Dr. Adewuyi there is some evidence that high cholesterol can be transmitted to the central nervous system. This then leads to abnormal cholesterol metabolism in the brain.
There is evidence that abnormal blood lipids may be caused or worsened by gut bacteria (H. pylori), supporting the possible role of abnormal lipids in Alzheimer's disease and intestinal disorders.
For example, high levels of cholesterol in the brain have previously been linked to brain degeneration and subsequent cognitive impairment, the researchers explain.
Statins used to treat Alzheimer's disease
The discovered link between cholesterol and Alzheimer's disease could prove crucial for the treatment of Alzheimer's disease in the future, the team speculates. Because the results of the study indicate that cholesterol-lowering drugs (statins) may have therapeutic value in the treatment of Alzheimer's disease and bowel disease.
"There is evidence that statins have anti-inflammatory properties that modulate immunity and protect the gut," Dr. adewuyi reports. benefit from taking statins.
Overall, the study reaffirms that diet can play an important role in the treatment and prevention of Alzheimer's disease and intestinal disorders. (as)
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This text corresponds to the specifications of the specialized medical literature, medical guidelines and current studies and has been verified by health professionals.
Sources:Emmanuel O Adewuyi, Eleanor K O'Brien, Dale R Nyholt, Tenielle Porter, Simon M Laws: Large-scale genome-wide cross-trait analysis reveals shared genetic architecture between Alzheimer's disease and mental disorders gastrointestinal tract; in: Biology of Communications (published 07/18/2022), Biology of CommunicationsEdith Cowan University: Alzheimer's Breakthrough: Confirmed Genetic Link to Gut Disorders (published 07/18/2022), ECU
This article contains general advice only and should not be used for self-diagnosis or treatment. It cannot substitute a visit to the doctor.