Scientists have found a connection between Alzheimer's disease and fungi living in the intestines

Scientists at the University of Wake Forest, North Carolina, USA, have found a link between the presence of fungi in the intestines and the risk of cognitive impairment leading to Alzheimer's disease. The experiment also found that a certain diet style - a fat-rich Mediterranean diet - helps to reduce the proportion of fungi in the intestines and reduce Alzheimer's biomarkers in the cerebrospinal fluid. 

Mikobiom (from Dr. - Greek. μύκης - fungus) is a part of the intestinal microbiota represented by fungi. The fungus component of the microbiome is poorly studied, but recently some data have emerged on the relationship between the presence of these microorganisms in the intestine and the risk of various disorders.

Scientists from North Carolina conducted a pilot study involving 17 elderly people. Six participants had no cognitive problems and formed a control group, while eleven had cognitive impairment and Alzheimer's biomarkers were found in the cerebrospinal fluid. The experts performed genetic analysis - sequencing the ITS1 gene of fungal rRNA in all participants. It turned out that the subjects with cognitive impairment have an increased proportion of some fungi (nine species in total). 

Repeated genetic analysis was carried out six weeks later: during this time, participants followed a special diet style. It was called the "modified Mediterranean ketogenic diet" (MMKD), a variant of the Mediterranean fatty diet. 

It was found that following this diet for a month and a half resulted in a decrease in the proportion of fungi in the intestine. In addition, the concentration of Alzheimer's biomarkers in cerebrospinal fluid has decreased. 

- Even though we don't fully understand the connection between the proportion of fungi in the intestines and the development of Alzheimer's disease, this is the first study that has paid attention to the impact of these microbes on our mental health," said chief researcher, associate professor of molecular medicine Hariom Yadav. - We also found that eating habits such as a fat-rich Mediterranean diet help reduce harmful fungi in the intestines and reduce the level of Alzheimer's biomarkers. 

Photo: nanoporetech.com

Sept. 1, 2020, 10:21 a.m.

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