Researchers are studying the effects of probiotic supplements
Physicians have long been looking for ways to reduce the effects of Alzheimer's. Researchers have now discovered that so-called probiotics could help improve thinking and memory skills in patients with Alzheimer's.
The scientists at Kashan University in Tehran found out that the consumption of dietary supplements with probiotics in them can improve memory and thinking. The doctors published the results of their study in the journal "Frontiers in Aging Neuroscience".
Probiotics improve cognitive function values in Alzheimer's patients
The new study found that taking nutritional supplements with probiotics (in the form of drinks and pills) over a period of only weeks was associated with moderate but significant improvements in cognitive function values.
Milk drink enriched with four probiotic bacteria
The small study of 52 men and women with Alzheimer's looked at the effects of taking probiotics. Half of all participants consumed a 200ml milk drink enriched with four probiotic bacteria (Lactobacillus acidophilus, L. casei, L. fermentum and Bifidobacterium bifidum) every day. The other half of the subjects received the daily milk drink without probiotics.
Participants had to submit blood samples and fill out a standardized questionnaire
Blood samples were taken from the participants before the study began and cognitive abilities were tested using a standardized questionnaire (MMSE). All of the tests were repeated after the twelve weeks of the study. The doctors wanted to find out whether improvements could be achieved.
Improvements in test results found in probiotic treatment group
The results showed that the average score of the so-called MMSE questionnaire in the treatment group taking probiotics was significantly increased from 8.7 to 10.6. There was no improvement in the group without probiotics. The points even dropped from 8.5 to 8.0.
Results show effects of probiotics over a short period of time
All people between the ages of 60 and 95 remained severely cognitively impaired. But the experts say the results showed positive effects of probiotics over a short period of time.
Previous studies have already shown success in rats
In a previous study, we found that probiotic treatment improved spatial learning and memory in diabetic rats, said author, Professor Mahmoud Salami from Kashan University in Tehran. But this is the first time that probiotic supplementation has improved cognition in cognitively impaired people.
Taking probiotics also reduces blood fat and cholesterol
Treatment with probiotics also resulted in lower levels of fat and cholesterol in the blood, the doctor explains. The results show that changing metabolic settings could be a mechanism by which the effects of probiotics affect Alzheimer's and possibly other neurological diseases, explains author Professor Salami. The scientists plan to examine these mechanisms in more detail in the next study.
Further research is urgently needed
The new study raises interesting questions about the connection between the gut and the brain. The researchers say that the improvements in memory and thinking in people with Alzheimer's found in the study will have to be examined in larger studies in the future. This is the only way we can understand the real benefits of probiotics on our brains. (as)