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The gut microbiome is strongly linked to chronic low-grade inflammation in the body, which naturally increases with age; this inflammation increases the likelihood of developing various chronic diseases including dementia, as well as becoming frail and lacking independence with age. Through a mouse model, researchers at McMaster University discovered how this connection plays out. The scientists housed one group of mice in a germ-free environment and another group in a normal environment; as they aged, the bacterial profile of the germ-free mice did not deteriorate, while their control counterparts saw a decrease in healthy bacteria and an increase in pro-inflammatory compounds. These findings indicate that the increasingly unhealthy bacterial profile in the gut seen with aging leads to inflammation. In addition, these age-related changes can be reversed through administration of a drug that protects against inflammation. Lead researcher Dawn Bowdish stated that the team, “[assumes] that… if we reduce inflammation, we improve immune function, and if we improve immune function, we maintain the ability to farm a healthy gut microbiota, but we don't know for sure yet.” In the future, the McMaster team will be looking into when these changes begin in an effort to prevent them and maintain immune function. Bowdish is hopeful about the results: “since age-associated inflammation is linked to so many aspects of unhealthy aging, we predict that these strategies could help keep us healthy, active, and independent as we age.”
SOURCE: Science Daily: https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2017/04/170412132332.htm
ORIGINAL ARTICLE: Cell: http://www.cell.com/cell-host-microbe/fulltext/S1931-3128(17)30112-9
DATE RETRIEVED: April 13, 2017