A study by Edith Cowan University (Australia) confirmed that genetic relationship between intestinal disorders and the Alzheimer’s diseasewhich could lead to one earlier detection and possible new treatments.
Alzheimer’s destroys memory and the ability to think and is the most common form of dementia. It has no known curative treatments and It is expected to affect more than 82 million people and cost $2 trillion in 2030.
Previous observational studies have suggested a relationship between the disease and gastrointestinal disorders, but what underlies these relationships has been unclear.
This work published in the scientific journal “Communication Biology”has now contributed new insights into these associations by confirming a genetic link between Alzheimer’s and multiple bowel diseases.
The team found that people with Alzheimer’s and bowel disease share common genes, which the researchers say is important for many reasons.
The study looked at large genetic datasets from Alzheimer’s and from several studies of bowel diseases, each involving about 400,000 people.
That Research leader, Emmanuel Adewuyihas stated that this is the first comprehensive assessment of this genetic relationship.
The team found that people with Alzheimer’s and bowel disease share common genes, which is important for many reasons.
“The study provides new insights into the genetics underlying the observed coexistence of Alzheimer’s and enteric diseases. This improves our understanding of the causes of these diseases and identifies them new targets to study to potentially detect the disease earlier and develop new treatments for both types of diseases,” said Dr. Adewuyi.
Although the study does not conclude that bowel disease causes Alzheimer’s or vice versa, the results are tremendously valuable. These results provide further evidence for the concept of the “gut-brain” axis, a reciprocal connection between the cognitive and emotional centers of the brain and gut function.
IS CHOLESTEROL THE KEY?
As the researchers took a closer look at the shared genetics, they discovered other important links between Alzheimer’s and bowel diseases, such as: role that cholesterol may play.
That Abnormal cholesterol levels have been shown to put you at risk for both conditions. “Studying the genetic and biological characteristics shared between Alzheimer’s and these intestinal diseases suggests that lipid metabolism, the immune system and cholesterol-lowering drugs play important roles,” explains Adewuyi.
Although the mechanisms common to both diseases need to be further investigated, there is evidence to support them high cholesterol can reach the central nervous system and cause abnormal cholesterol metabolism in the brain.
“There is also evidence that abnormal blood lipids may be caused or worsened by gut bacteria (‘H. pylori’), supporting a possible role for abnormal lipids in Alzheimer’s and bowel disease. For example, elevated brain cholesterol has been linked to brain degeneration and subsequent cognitive decline,” says Adewuyi.
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