Ageing: Geneticist discusses reversing process in 2019
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Researchers from University College Cork (UCC) in Ireland have demonstrated this week a groundbreaking new way of treating age-related brain deterioration. Using the power of microbes found in the gut, the team was able to reverse some aspects of ageing and rejuvenate the brain and immune function. And though the study was only carried out on mice, the breakthrough opens up a whole new avenue for treatment and therapies involving microbes in the human gut.
The study was carried out by APC Microbiome Ireland (APC) at UCC, by researchers in the Brain-Gut-Microbiota lab.
The team was led by Professor John F. Cryan, Vice President for Research and Innovation and Principal Investigator at APC.
There is a growing body of work examining the ways gut microbes can help ensure a longer and healthier life.
In this latest study, the researchers transplanted microbes collected from young mice into the brain of older rodents to study the effect they would have on the brain.
The researchers noted the microbe transplant “reversed ageing-associated differences in peripheral and brain immunity”.
According to Professor Cryan, the team’s findings is a potential game-changer.
Studies like these will play a vital role in the coming years as more and more people are expected to be diagnosed with various forms of dementia.
It is estimated about 50 million people around the globe are presently diagnosed with the memory loss syndrome.
But the figure is expected to triple in the next 30 years, according to a recent report.
As scientists still do not understand what is the main cause of dementia, the forecast seems dire – but could gut microbes be the solution?
Scientists pinpoint possible way to STOP ageing
Professor Cryan said: “Previous research published by the APC and other groups internationally has shown that the gut microbiome plays a key role in ageing and the ageing 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 exciting, the expert warned much more work needs to be done to see whether the same results can be applied to humans.
Professor Paul Ross, APC Director, added: “This research of Professor Cryan and colleagues further demonstrates the importance of the gut microbiome in many aspects of health, and particularly 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 findings were published on August 9 in the journal Nature Aging.
The study reads: “Our results reveal that the microbiome may be a suitable therapeutic target to promote healthy ageing.”
And this is not the first study on mice that has managed to reverse some aspects of ageing in the brain.
A study published last month offered new hope for Alzheimer’s patients after using genetic treatments on certain parts of the brain.
According to the study’s findings, the results may one day help prevent humans from developing memory loss later in life.
Dr Jessica Kwok from the School of Biomedical Sciences at the University of Leeds, said: “We saw remarkable results when we treated the ageing mice with this treatment.”
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