Why is this important?
There remains no cure for Alzheimer’s disease, and it is increasingly understood that effective interventions must be preventative, and be commenced well before symptoms begin. The gut microbiome has been shown to be different in people with a diagnosis of Alzheimer’s disease (compared to healthy control groups). It’s still not clear whether this is a cause or consequence of the disease, however animal studies are showing us that there can be strong gut to brain effects on learning, mood, brain structure and brain function.
Understanding how microbes influence risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease before the symptoms have begun is the first step to determining whether targeting the microbiome might be a viable approach to prevention.
How are we doing this study?
The Healthy Brain Project is collecting health and cognitive function data from 10,000 healthy middle-aged Australians to understand optimal brain health and aging. A smaller group of 200 of these participants will also do a visit to the clinic to assess their brain through detailed cognitive testing, brain scans, blood tests and microbiome samples (gut and oral). We will bring these data together to understand how risk factors interact.
What are we hoping to find?
The Healthy Brain Project (Microbiome Arm) aims to:
• identify which microbial factors are relevant to the risk of having early warning signs of Alzheimer’s disease
• quantify how these microbial factors interact with genetic, health, and health behavioural factors in Alzheimer’s disease risk
This project is a collaboration with the Healthy Brain Project at the Florey Institute, lead by Dr Rachel Buckley and Dr Yen Ying Lim. The Healthy Brain Project is recruiting now. Click here to learn more and to see if you are eligible.