How microbes predict Alzheimer’s disease before symptoms appear


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Some microbes are more common in people with early signs of Alzheimer’s disease. This potentially points to a new method of diagnosing a problem that affects millions of people around the world.
What’s the trend?

Alzheimer’s disease is one of the most common forms of dementia, causing loss of memory and cognitive abilities, as well as behavioral changes. About 55 million people worldwide suffer from this disease. Unfortunately, this number will only grow in the future – at least 500 thousand people are added to it every year. The development of new methods for treating and diagnosing Alzheimer’s disease is helping to improve the fight against neurodegenerative diseases in general.

What is the gut microbiome and why is it important?
The gut microbiome is the collection of microbes including bacteria, viruses and fungi that live in the intestines. Having diverse populations is believed to contribute to the overall health of the human body. However, under certain circumstances, the microbiome can also contain harmful microorganisms.

How certain proteins trigger Alzheimer’s disease
In Alzheimer’s disease, there is an abnormal accumulation of two proteins in the brain – amyloid beta and tau. Their presence leads to memory loss and decreased cognitive abilities. Symptoms become more severe over time. These substances begin to concentrate long before the first signs of the disease appear. It was at this stage that a group of American researchers noticed changes in the intestinal microbiome of older people.

Germ-based computer detection
Currently, doctors rely on the results of diagnostic tests to determine potential Alzheimer’s disease. The scientists combined these indicators with data on the gut microbiome of study participants and processed them using an AI algorithm.

The study results demonstrated that incorporating gut microbiome data into the algorithm improved its ability to accurately diagnose future Alzheimer’s disease. The correlation persisted even in cases where not all diagnostic test data were included in the dataset.

Affordable and painless method
Some diagnostic tests to detect future Alzheimer’s disease may be unpleasant (for example, a lumbar puncture – a puncture of the spinal cord). They may also rely on expensive, complex technologies—like MRI—that have uneven access around the world.

In this regard, the idea of ​​analyzing the gut microbiome, which requires only a stool sample, appears promising. There will be a non-invasive and more accessible way to identify people’s risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease earlier, giving them more time to plan and prepare for the future. Now such an analysis can complement existing diagnostic methods, but is not yet able to replace them completely.


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