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New Research Reveals: Gut Health Key to Battling Aging and Alzheimer’s



In a groundbreaking study from the University of Wisconsin School of Medicine and Public Health, scientists are uncovering more about the crucial link between our gut health and brain function, specifically in relation to aging and Alzheimer’s disease.

The research, featured in the prestigious Scientific Reports journal by Nature, indicates that inflammation in our guts, marked by increased levels of calprotectin found in stool samples, directly correlates with the dreaded amyloid plaque build-up in the brains of Alzheimer’s sufferers. Alarmingly, this plaque is a hallmark of the disease, which devastates memory and cognitive function.

Even more concerning, individuals without Alzheimer’s but with higher gut inflammation also showed diminished memory capabilities.

“Our findings suggest that those battling with Alzheimer’s have significantly more gut inflammation, and this inflammation is directly tied to the severity of the disease,” explained Barbara Bendlin, a leading professor at the UW School of Medicine and Public Health.

As we age, our gut undergoes changes that can lead to increased inflammation, potentially setting the stage for neurodegenerative diseases like Alzheimer’s. Bendlin and her team, however, caution against jumping to conclusions too quickly, emphasizing the need for further research to establish a definitive cause-and-effect relationship.

Collaborating on this critical study are Federico Rey and Tyler Ulland, both esteemed professors at UW–Madison, alongside three diligent graduate students. Their ongoing work involves animal studies to pinpoint whether inflammation or dietary changes can trigger Alzheimer’s in mice, following intriguing findings from a 2017 study that identified significant gut microbiome differences in individuals with and without Alzheimer’s.

This connection between the gut and brain, increasingly recognized over the past decade, offers a promising avenue for future Alzheimer’s treatments.


“Exploring the link between gut health changes, like inflammation or increased permeability, and the onset and progression of Alzheimer’s is vital,” noted Ulland.

Drawing from a diverse group of 125 volunteers from the Wisconsin Alzheimer’s Disease Research Center and the Wisconsin Registry for Alzheimer’s Prevention, the research team is taking their investigation further, exploring the effects of probiotics on gut inflammation and its potential to forestall cognitive decline.

This pioneering work underscores the importance of gut health not just for digestive well-being but as a critical factor in our fight against Alzheimer’s. It highlights the invaluable contribution of Wisconsin volunteers in advancing our understanding of this debilitating disease.

As we await more definitive answers, this research reinforces the importance of maintaining a healthy gut as a potential safeguard against Alzheimer’s, promising hope and a new direction in our ongoing battle against aging and cognitive decline.


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