[COLUMN] Microbiome and Alzheimer’s

LAS Vegas is about to be lit up with the colors and sounds of this multicultural celebration! On the Sunday of Memorial Day Weekend, Downtown Container Park will be hosting the HAAPIROOTS Cultural Celebration. The event is set to be an exciting experience for all attendees as they celebrate the diverse and vibrant communities of Asian American, Native Hawaiian, and Pacific Islander (AANHPI) THE health of your microbiome (gut bacterial flora) can affect your overall health. Past research has shown the correlation between microbiome and diseases like Alzheimer’s and other forms of dementia. Recently, clinical investigators from the University of Nevada, Las Vegas, have identified 10 specific types of bacteria in the gut of individuals linked with the likelihood of developing Alzheimer’s disease.

A well-balanced gut microbiome (having the proper amount of good bacteria in the gastrointestinal tract) helps with proper absorption of nutrients from the food we eat which helps keep our immune system healthy and ward off diseases like inflammatory bowel diseases, including Crohn’s and Ulcerative Colitis. Other studies have also shown the link between microbiome and cardiovascular disease, diabetes, obesity and neurodegenerative illness like Alzheimer’s and other forms of dementia. There must be an overall balance (good and bad organisms in our gut) in order to achieve gut health, and therefore, general health.

The discovery of specific types of bacteria associated with Alzheimer’s will expedite the development of new strategies to aid in reducing the risk for developing Alzheimer’s and expedite finding its cure. The study was posted in the journal of Scientific Reports.

Role of microbiome

The gut microbiome consists of trillions of microscopic organisms living in our intestinal tract. They are bacteria, fungi, viruses, and others, which assist with our body’s ability to absorb nutrients, recover energy from food metabolism, break down fiber, and maintain gut health and safety. Poor and imbalanced microbiome leads to inflammation, which is a pre[1]cursor of diseases.

Each person’s gut microbiome is different, depending on the individual’s genetics, diet, medications being taken, behavior, lifestyle, and their respective surrounding environment.

 Unhealthy gut

The signs of an unhealthy microbiome could include bloating, gassy feeling, constipation, diarrhea, fatigue, sleep problem, food intolerance, skin issues, heartburns, mood changes, anxiety, depression and sugar cravings.

Oligomeric tau

New discovery: Researcher’s found a particular type of harmful protein, called “oligomeric tau,” which may have a key role in the development of Alzheimer’s disease. This is different from the amyloid plaques found in autopsies of the brain of Alzheimer’s victims. Studies on this new discovery continue. There are about 55.2 million people around the world with Alzheimer’s; more than 6 million in the United States (10.17 % of Americans 65 and over) have Alzheimer’s, and more than 4 million of those 65 years and older in the Philippines have some form of dementia.

Gut-brain link

The gut microbiome “modulates brain function and behavior via the microbiota-gut-brain axis, a bi-directional communication system connecting neural, immune and metabolic pathways.” Changes in the gut bacteria can affect the immune system, “causing inflammation throughout the body, including the brain.” This could lead to neurodegenerative diseases like Alzheimer’s. The gut bacteria could produce chemicals that cross the blood-brain barrier, act as neurotransmitters and impact brain functions, like cognition, behavior and mood. The microbiome could also produce short-chain fatty acids that have anti-inflammatory effects on the central nervous system.

Microbiome aids

Fortunately, there are current practical strategies within our power to improve our gut microbiome: eating a healthy diverse diet (like the Mediterranean Diet), including prebiotic food items, eating fermented foods, taking probiotic supplements, exercising daily, skimping on sugary food items (sweets, soft drinks, carbs in general); getting enough sleep, avoiding antibiotics as much as possible, and staying away from tobacco and alcohol. Our general health, including our gut health, is, indeed in our hands.

M-Diet is # 1

Recent research findings concluded that a Mediterranean Diet “was best for overall cardiovascular health, followed closely by a low-fat diet.” The “M-Diet” emphasizes fish, vegetables, fruits, and monosaturated fats, like olive oil. Seven diets were analyzed: Mediterranean, the Ornish diet, Pritikin diet, low-fat diet, very-low fat diet, modified fat diet, combined low-fat and low-sodium diet.

The randomized, controlled trials found that for people at risk for cardiovascular diseases, the Mediterranean Diet or lowfat diet are the healthiest options. The M-diet, according to this large-scale study reduced the likelihood of all-cause deaths, cardiovascular, stroke, and non-fatal heart attacks.

Life to 100+

As medicine and the global environment improve because of all the mind-boggling advances in various technologies, so with people living to a ripe old age of 100 and older! Studies showed that these centenarians have a unique immune cell composition and activity, providing them an immune system that enables them to live longer. These findings may be used to develop healthy aging therapeutics for all of us.

Since 1900, our planet has more than doubled in population. From 31 years in the 1900, global life expectancy has increased to 73.2 years in 2023, and is more likely to go up to 77.1 in 2050. The 2015 figure of 450,000 centenarians is projected to go up to 3.7 million in 2050, 27 years from now, a more than 8-fold increase. What is still unknown is why some people live to their 100s and others don’t. This study was published in the journal Lancet eBioMedicine.

Deep brain stimulation

The 55.2 million people with Alzheimer’s around the world experience both cognitive (understanding, confusion, memory loss) and non-cognitive symptoms (depression and anxiety). Clinical investigators from the University of North Carolina Chapel Hill “were able to generate new neurons in the brain and stimulate them using deep brain stimulation (DBS) via a mouse model.” This process helped restore both cognitive and non-cognitive functions in a mouse model of Alzheimer’s disease; the procedure (DBS) could someday be found to be effective for human patients. Posted in the journal Stem Cell, this discovery would inspire clinical evaluation of DBS among human patients. To date, there is still no cure for Alzheimer’s

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 The opinions, beliefs and viewpoints expressed by the author do not necessarily reflect the opinions, beliefs and viewpoints of the Asian Journal, its management, editorial board and staff.

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Philip S. Chua, MD, FACS, FPCS, a Cardiac Surgeon Emeritus based in Northwest Indiana and Las Vegas, Nevada, is an international medical lecturer/author, Health Advocate, newspaper columnist, and Chairman of the Filipino United Network-USA, a 501(c)3 humanitarian foundation in the United States. He was a recipient of the Indiana Sagamore of the Wabash Award in 1995. Other Sagamore past awardees include President Harry Truman, President George HW Bush, Muhammad Ali and Astronaut Gus Grissom (Wikipedia). Websites: FUN8888.com, Today.SPSAtoday.com, and philipSchua. com; Email: [email protected]

Dr. Philip S. Chua

Philip S. Chua, MD, FACS, FPCS, Cardiac Surgeon Emeritus in Northwest Indiana and chairman of cardiac surgery from 1997 to 2010 at Cebu Doctors University Hospital, where he holds the title of Physician Emeritus in Surgery, is based in Las Vegas, Nevada. He is a Fellow of the American College of Surgeons, the Philippine College of Surgeons, and the Denton A. Cooley Cardiovascular Surgical Society. He is the chairman of the Filipino United Network – USA, a 501(c)(3) humanitarian foundation in the United States.

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