Aging brain: possible “elixir of youth” found

Gut microbiota transplants from a young organism to a more adult one could have therapeutic potential against cognitive decline and could counteract changes associated with brain aging.

In the gut there would be a "elixir of youth" for the brain. It is the gut microbiota, or the set of all the microbes that inhabit the portion of our digestive system. The transplantation from a young organism to an older one could counteract the changes associated with brain aging. The revelation comes from a study conducted by scientists at University College Cork, Ireland, published in the journal Nature Aging. A mouse model was used to evaluate the innovative treatment.

Gut microbiota to improve brain function

According to the authors of the research, transplants of the gut microbiota could have therapeutic potential against cognitive decline caused by advancing age. The microbes that inhabit our bodies influence mechanisms and health that vary as we age, and the gut microbiota may influence brain aging and increase the risk of developing neurodegenerative diseases. The research of the team, led by neuroscientists John Cryan and Marcus Böhme, started with the idea that the process could be reversed. To evaluate the hypothesis, fecal microbes were transplanted from the intestines of young donor mice, three to four months old, to older specimens, more than 19 months old. The researchers found that aging-related changes in the immune system of the older animals were reversed by the transfer of the gut microbiota of the younger ones.

The results also showed that the transplantation brought an improvement in the cognitive system of the recipient mice, which appeared to have become more capable on tests of learning, memory and anxiety."In short, we showed that chemicals in a region of the brain involved in learning and memory (the hippocampus) were more similar to those in young mice after microbiota transplantation. Our results show conclusively that the microbiome is important for a healthy brain in old age," Cryan wrote.

Although more research is needed regarding the real effects of the gut microbiota on the brain, neuroscientists believe the outcomes observed so far show the potential that a new therapy could have on aging. Targeted dietary treatments could promote gut health and immunity resulting in the gut maintaining the main organ of our nervous system young and healthy.

Another research has shown that listening to music just before bedtime could disrupt sleep and create brain damage.

Stefania Bernardini