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Microbes turn back the clock as research discovers their potential to reverse aging in the brain

Science Daily

Research introduces a novel approach to reverse aspects of aging-related deterioration in the brain and cognitive function via the microbes in the gut.

FAB RESEARCH COMMENT:

'Gut microbe transplant can reverse brain aging' - in mice.

Both this and many other news articles failed to add those two key words to their headlines, while breathlessly reporting on this remarkable new study from leading scientists at University College in Cork.

The findings certainly are important - as age-related mental health conditions are a major and increasing burden in most countries, for which we still have no effective treatments. 

To have shown that simply giving the gut microbes from young mice to older animals may help to reverse 'brain aging' is therefore a potential 'game-changer', as the senior author says.  But he also adds:

".. it is still early days and much more work is needed to see how these findings could be translated in humans."  And he gives more detail on this study and its context and limitations - including a review of background research in this area, in this accessible article:


These findings nonetheless provide yet more evidence of the fundamental importance of the 'gut-microbiota-brain axis' as a determinant of mental health, wellbeing and performance.

They may - in due course - lead to the development of new 'treatments' for age-related cogitive decline and other 'brain disorders'. Meanwhile, however, diet is already known to have a major influence on the gut microbiota. So they also reinforce the importance of:

(1) supporting gut microbial balance by eating a wide range of vegetables, fruits, whole grains and other whole, unprocessed foods, and traditonal fermented foods; 
(2) minimising as far as possible the intake of sugar and ultra-processed foods, which promote an unhealthy balance of gut microbes, and can also damage the gut in other ways.

For details of the underlying research, see:


And for more information on this subject, see also:

Research from APC Microbiome Ireland (APC) at University College Cork (UCC) published today in the leading international scientific journal Nature Aging introduces a novel approach to reverse aspects of aging-related deterioration in the brain and cognitive function via the microbes in the gut.

As our population ages one of the key global challenges is to develop strategies to maintain healthy brain function. This ground-breaking research opens up a potentially new therapeutic avenues in the form of microbial-based interventions to slow down brain aging and associated cognitive problems.

The work was carried out by researchers in the Brain-Gut-Microbiota lab in APC led by Prof John F. Cryan, Vice President for Research & Innovation, University College Cork as well as a Principal Investigator at APC Microbiome Ireland an SFI Research Centre, based in in University College Cork and Teagasc Moorepark.

There is a growing appreciation of the importance of the microbes in the gut on all aspects of physiology and medicine. In this latest mouse study the authors show that by transplanting microbes from young into old animals they could rejuvenate aspects of brain and immune function.

Prof John F. Cryan, says "Previous research published by the APC and other groups internationally has shown that the gut microbiome plays a key role in aging and the aging process. This new research is a potential game changer , as we have established that the microbiome can be harnessed to reverse age-related brain deterioration. We also see evidence of improved learning ability and cognitive function."

Although very exciting Cryan cautions that "it is still early days and much more work is needed to see how these findings could be translated in humans."

APC Director Prof Paul Ross stated that "This research of Prof. Cryan and colleagues further demonstrates the importance of the gut microbiome in many aspects of health, and particularly across across the brain/gut axis where brain functioning can be positively influenced. The study opens up possibilities in the future to modulate gut microbiota as a therapeutic target to influence brain health"

The study was led by co-first authors Dr Marcus Boehme along with PhD students Katherine E. Guzzetta, and Thomaz Bastiaansen.