Behavioral abnormalities are present in the majority of dementia patients at some time during their illness. They create a great deal of pain for patients and are to blame for caregiver stress, institutionalization, and hospitalization. It is critical to identify predisposing and triggering conditions. The approach to managing behavioral abnormalities in dementia patients should be systematic and comprehensive. The safety of the patient and others should come first. Addressing the underlying causes of behavioral problems, such as concomitant medical diseases, polypharmacy, pain, personal need, contextual circumstances, and so on, is crucial to achieving a successful outcome.
For the first time, new research in mice establishes a solid causal link between alterations in the gut microbiota and behavioral and cognitive impairments in an animal model of Alzheimer’s disease. The study, which was published in the journal Frontiers in Behavioral Neuroscience, reveals new possibilities for using probiotics to treat and potentially prevent dementia symptoms linked with neurodegenerative disorders such as Alzheimer’s.
Oregon Health & Science University experts lead the study.
“We discovered that manipulating the gut microbiota with fecal implants in germ-free mice produces behavioral and cognitive alterations in an Alzheimer’s disease model,” stated senior author Jacob Raber, Ph.D., professor of behavioral neuroscience at OHSU. “To the best of my knowledge, no one has proved it before in an Alzheimer’s disease model.”
We discovered that manipulating the gut microbiota with fecal implants in germ-free mice produces behavioral and cognitive alterations in an Alzheimer’s disease model. To the best of my knowledge, no one has proved it before in an Alzheimer’s disease model.Professor Jacob Raber
Alzheimer’s disease (AD), which affects roughly 50,000,000 people globally, is the most common cause of dementia, constituting a serious global health crisis. The disease is characterized by the increasing deposition of beta amyloid plaques and tangles of hyperphosphorylated tau neurofibrils, which causes neuroinflammation and progressive cognitive loss.
The findings build on a previous OHSU study in mice released last year, which found a link between the composition of the gut microbiota and the behavioral and cognitive performance of mice carrying Alzheimer’s genes.
In the latest study, researchers used fecal implants to meticulously alter the digestive tracts of mice. They discovered differences in behavioral and cognitive measures between three different genotypes, as well as between males and females. Two of the genotypes involved are linked to an increased risk of Alzheimer’s disease in adults.
Researchers discovered that changes in the gut microbiota had a demonstrable impact on behavioral and cognitive changes in mice.
The findings reveals potential paths for preventing dementia through the targeted use of probiotics or fecal transplants, both of which have already been utilized to modify the gut microbiome in humans. However, Raber believes that much more research is needed to determine the mechanism of these behavioral and cognitive impacts, because the association between these effects and the gut microbiome is altered by genotype and sex.
The gut microbiota is emerging as a critical regulator of many disease situations, and dysregulation has been linked to the etiology of a number of gastrointestinal and extraintestinal illnesses. More recently, changes in the gut microbiome have been related to neurodegeneration via the increasingly characterized gut microbiota brain axis, opening the door to new microbiota-based therapy possibilities.
“People can buy probiotics over the counter,” Raber explained, “but we want to make sure the proper medicine is utilized for each patient and that it genuinely benefits them.” “The gut microbiota is a complicated ecosystem. If you modify one element, you will also change others, so choose a probiotic that improves brain health and function for each patient while limiting any undesirable side effects.”
Dementias are among the most feared conditions of old age, as well as among the most severe in terms of patient suffering and dysfunction. Late-life dementias are accompanied with noncognitive mental and behavioral symptoms as well as deficiencies in cognition and self-care. 1 More than 90 percent of dementia cases in the elderly are caused by Alzheimer’s disease and related illnesses. Alzheimer’s disease, vascular dementia, Lewy body disease, and other degenerative dementias are examples of this. Alzheimer’s disease and associated illnesses affect more than 4 million Americans today. Their prevalence will eventually reach epidemic levels, owing primarily to population aging.