A question of guts and brains
August 11, 2021 9:17 AM Subscribe
Fecal transplants reverse signs of brain aging in mice (Science Magazine) – A new study published in Nature Aging shows a transplant of gut microbes, in the form of feces, from young mice to old ones can turn back the clock on the aging brain.
The first thing the team noticed was that the gut microbiomes of the old mice given young mouse microbes began to resemble those of the younger ones. The common gut microbe Enterococcus became much more abundant in old mice, just as it is in young mice, for example.Of course, mice aren’t humans so we "need to be careful to not over-interpret these findings":
There were changes in the brain as well. The hippocampus of old mice—a region of the brain associated with learning and memory—became more physically and chemically similar to the hippocampus of young mice. The old mice that received young mouse poop also learned to solve mazes faster and were better at remembering the maze layout on subsequent attempts
We are not advocating faecal transplants for people who want to rejuvenate their brain. Instead, these studies point towards a future where there will be a focus on microbiota-targeted dietary or bacteria-based treatments that will promote optimum gut health and immunity in order to keep the brain young and healthy. Such strategies will be a more palatable elixir indeed.
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