Researchers study link between gut bacteria and Alzheimer’s


KU Leuven and VIB are taking part in a European project that is studying how flora found in our bodies can lead to dementia

Probiotic cocktails

Scientists of the University of Leuven (KU Leuven) and the Flemish life sciences research institute VIB are part of the European research project AD-gut, which is investigating the link between gut flora and the development of Alzheimer’s disease.

The project is based on research by the École polytechnique fédérale in Lausanne, Switzerland. Through experiments on mice, the Swiss researchers found a link between the composition of gut flora – micro-organisms, mainly bacteria, that live in the intestinal system – and the development of Alzheimer’s disease. KU Leuven and VIB will now assist them in examining which bacteria have an influence on the disease.

The researchers will search for new methods to quickly and precisely map the microbial composition of gut flora. They will also analyse which flora cause a faster development of Alzheimer’s; discovering this could help diagnose the disease at an earlier stage.

A third goal is to develop specific probiotic cocktails that can modify the gut flora in such a way that the development of Alzheimer’s disease is halted. Probiotics are foodstuffs or other preparations with micro-organisms and bacteria that strengthen or improve the gut flora.