by Maleeha Sofi

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SRINAGAR: A recent study has shown that changes in the gut-brain axis may have connections with cognitive decline.  Experiments have been conducted on aged mice and the results are in favour of the claim. The research is not published yet, but may soon prove to be a major breakthrough.

Dr Zahoor Shah (University of Toledo, Ohio)

What is interesting is the man behind the pathbreaking research is a Kashmiri scientist, Dr Zahoor Shah. He is a medicinal and biological chemistry professor at The University of Toledo (Ohio).

“The diversity of our microbiota changes with ageing,” a report quoted Dr Shah as having said. “Not only is the overall diversity lower, but we also see higher levels of harmful bacteria and lower levels of beneficial bacteria. This has real effects on health and well-being.”

The human gut, as is already known is a universe of bacteria. With age, the composition and diversity of the bacteria changes, impacting various organs including the brain.

Several pieces of research in the past have shown connections between diet intake and health issues like high blood pressure and heart diseases. The human digestive system is a hub of uncountable bacteria, so there is a remarkable possibility of the connection.

The field is still unexplored. Shah has conducted only the initial research. “All of these neurodegenerative diseases, including Alzheimer’s disease, start with inflammation,” Dr Shah has said. “We believe microbiota dysbiosis results in neuro-inflammation in the brain leading to cognitive decline. We are learning more and more about the gut-brain axis, but there aren’t many studies that have investigated this specific process.”

Microbiota dysbiosis means to have an imbalance in the natural microflora such as bacteria, fungi, and viruses, especially in the gut. This condition is stimulated if one does not age normally. People suffering from diabetes or cardiovascular diseases may have higher chances of inflammation which in turn becomes a driver for microbiota dysfunction, hence cognitive decline.

Another research paper read, “Alterations in resting cerebral blood flow (CBF) and its regulation are well known to produce neuronal dysfunction and cognitive impairment and could play a role in the harmful effects of excessive salt intake on the brain.”



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