The gut-brain axis has recently been mentioned in connection with various disorders. According to an article in SciTechDaily, a study at ECU’s Centre for Precision Health confirms a genetic link between the emotional and cognitive centers of the brain and the functioning of the intestines.
AD, a Common Dementia
Over eighty-two million people may be affected by AD in 2030, with an estimated cost of $2 trillion. The disease robs people of their memory and cognitive ability. Currently, there is no cure.
About the Study
Genetic data from AD and disorders of GI tract were analyzed by the researchers, including an estimated four hundred thousand participants. According to the lead researcher of the ECU study, this was a breakthrough analysis of the genetic association between AD and various GI disorders. The researchers noted that people with gut disorders and AD share genes.
The researchers expanded their studies of shared genetics and found that cholesterol may also have a role in AD and gut disorders. Dr. Emmanuel Adewuyi, the study’s lead researcher, said that abnormal cholesterol levels increase the risk of gut disorders and AD.
Dr. Adewuyi further stated that the biological and genetic characteristics of AD and various gut disorders indicate the strong role of the immune system, lipids metabolism, and medications that lower cholesterol.
Dr. Adewuyi indicated that the researchers found evidence that high cholesterol may invade the central nervous system. When cholesterol has been found to be elevated in the brain, there has also been evidence of cognitive impairment and degeneration. Cholesterol’s association may eventually be of importance in the treatment of AD.
New targets may now be identified for earlier detection of AD, as well as new treatments developed for both conditions. Although no curative treatments currently exist, the study finds that cholesterol-lowering statins may be beneficial in the treatment of gut disorders and AD.
Dr. Adewuyi emphasized that patients should be assessed on an individual basis as it is important to determine whether or not they would benefit from the use of statins. There were also indications that diet may be important in the treatment and prevention of AD and gastrointestinal tract disorders.