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Preliminary Evidence for an Association Between the Composition of the Gut Microbiome and Cognitive Function in Neurologically Healthy Older Adults

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  23 June 2017

Lisa Manderino
Affiliation:
Department of Psychological Sciences, Kent State University, Kent, Ohio
Ian Carroll
Affiliation:
Department of Cell Biology and Physiology and Microbiome Core Facility, UNC School of Medicine, Chapel Hill, North Carolina
M. Andrea Azcarate-Peril
Affiliation:
Department of Cell Biology and Physiology and Microbiome Core Facility, UNC School of Medicine, Chapel Hill, North Carolina
Amber Rochette
Affiliation:
Department of Psychological Sciences, Kent State University, Kent, Ohio
Leslie Heinberg
Affiliation:
Cleveland Clinic, Lerner College of Medicine of Case Western Reserve University, Bariatric and Metabolic Institute, Cleveland, Ohio
Christine Peat
Affiliation:
Center of Excellence for Eating Disorders, UNC School of Medicine, Chapel Hill, North Carolina
Kristine Steffen
Affiliation:
Department of Pharmaceutical Sciences, College of Pharmacy, Nursing and Allied Sciences, North Dakota State University, Fargo, North Dakota
James Mitchell
Affiliation:
Neuropsychiatric Research Institute; Department of Clinical Neuroscience, School of Medicine and Health Services, University of North Dakota
John Gunstad*
Affiliation:
Department of Psychological Sciences, Kent State University, Kent, Ohio
*
Correspondence and reprint requests to: John Gunstad, 144 Kent Hall, Kent State University, Kent, OH 44242. E-mail: jgunstad@kent.edu

Abstract

Objectives: Dysbiosis of the gut microbiome is implicated in numerous human health conditions. Animal studies have linked microbiome disruption to changes in cognitive functioning, although no study has examined this possibility in neurologically healthy older adults. Methods: Participants were 43 community-dwelling older adults (50–85 years) that completed a brief cognitive test battery and provided stool samples for gut microbiome sequencing. Participants performing≥1 SD below normative performance on two or more tests were compared to persons with one or fewer impaired scores. Results: Mann Whitney U tests revealed different distributions of Bacteroidetes (p=.01), Firmicutes (p=.02), Proteobacteria (p=.04), and Verrucomicrobia (p=.003) between Intact and Impaired groups. These phyla were significantly correlated with cognitive test performances, particularly Verrucomicrobia and attention/executive function measures. Conclusions: The current findings suggest that composition of the gut microbiome is associated with cognitive test performance in neurologically healthy older adults. Future studies are needed to confirm these findings and explore possible mechanisms. (JINS, 2017, 23, 700–705)

Type
Brief Communication
Copyright
Copyright © The International Neuropsychological Society 2017 

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