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article imageImproving age-related cognition may rest on a fecal transplant

By Tim Sandle     Oct 7, 2020 in Science
Improving age-related cognition and the decline that comes with old age is something many medical professionals aspire to. There could be an answer, according to a new study, based on fecal transplant therapy.
A new British item of research has demonstrated how fecal transplants from older to younger mice can altert the gut microbiome, which changed the spatial learning and memory, in the transfused mice The main objective of the research is in developing a therapy that could restore cognitive function in older people. The change in bacterial composition changed the expression of proteins, including those associated with synaptic plasticity and neuro transmission.
The reason these processes have been observed in mice is because the aging process could well be linked with age-related changes in the body's gut microbiota (the composition of microorganisms and their genetic interactions in the human intestines). This is based on the complex interactions that form the gut-brain axis.
Fecal transplants
Direct fecal transplants (or fecal bacteriotherapy), where there is a transfer gut microbiota from healthy donors, have shown great promise in treating a range of diseases. There is now a sufficient body of medical research that demonstrates the transfer of beneficial bacteria to people with anatomical concerns or infections (such as MRSA) or Clostridium difficile.
The porcess also carries the status of a 'medicine', with the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) declaring that fecal transplants meet the definition of a biologic therapy.
READ MORE: Fecal transplant deaths: Call for improved regulations
The process of administering beneficial bacteria, from a donor, is in either single or multiple infusions of bacterial fecal flora originating from a healthy donor; or via the more palatable,and increasingly common, means of a pill.
There are some risks with the treatment, however; such as, patients becoming infected with a multi-drug resistant bacterial infection.
New research
The next phase of the research from East Anglia University, is to see whether young donors can restore cognitive function in aged recipients (again based on studies using rodents). In time, trialswill be undertaken on humans as research into cognition and other forms of age-related health are explored.
The research is published in the journal Microbiome, with the study called "Faecal microbiota transplant from aged donor mice affects spatial learning and memory via modulating hippocampal synaptic plasticity- and neurotransmission-related proteins in young recipients."
More about fecal transplant, Feces, Youth, Medical, cognition
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