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Preliminary research presented in Honolulu at the American Stroke Association’s International Stroke Conference 2019 suggests that the makeup of bacteria and other microbes in the gut may be involved in dementia.

Japanese researchers studied 128 people and found differences in the components of gut microbiota in those people taking part who are living with dementia, suggesting that what is in the gut influences dementia risk.

Dr James Pickett, Head of Research at Alzheimer’s Society, said:

‘There’s growing evidence that the gut microbes of people with Alzheimer’s can change as the disease develops. This study doesn’t add anything further to the picture, other than give us more details of which gut bacteria might be involved.

‘Research into gut bacteria is a hot topic, and scientists at the UK Dementia Research Institute, supported by Alzheimer’s Society, are trying to understand how changes in these bacteria affect brain function and health.

‘We already know the gut and brain can communicate, so when something is wrong in the gut it may trigger an emergency response in the brain. If we can understand this ‘gut-brain conversation’ better, it could open up a whole new way to prevent dementia, or develop new treatments for the 850,000 people living with the condition in the UK.’

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