carers of people with dementia are six times more likely to develop the disease
in the future.
this perplexing puzzle, researchers at The University of Tasmania’s College of
Health and Medicine are looking to gut bacteria for the answers.
are needed for the study which will look at the gut bacteria or ‘microbiota’ of
people living at home with dementia and that of their carers, to examine the correlation
between that bacteria, cognitive function and stress.
Dementia Research and Education Centre researcher and project lead Dr Jenna
Ziebell said the study had the potential to uncover some groundbreaking
dementia risk factors.
individual has bacteria living in their gut which helps us digest our food and
take in the nutrients we need to live and the more diverse the species of that bacteria
the healthier you tend to be as an individual,” Dr Ziebell said.
“We will be
looking at all the different species in your gut and whether the ratio of good
and bad bacteria has any association between cognitive status or disease.
diet and environment, for example, could be modifiable risk factors for those
living with dementia or those caring with someone with dementia.”
research is being carried out in conjunction with the University’s Department
of Mathematics and with support from San Francisco-based biotechnology company uBiome,
which will be providing sample collection kits and sample analysis for the
It is hoped
results from the study will be available in 12 months.
researchers are currently calling for participants to be involved in this study
who are living in the community and are either a spousal carer for someone with
mild cognitive impairment, dementia or other chronic illness (e.g heart disease
or cancer) or an individual living with mild cognitive impairment, dementia or
other chronic illness.
must be based in the Hobart area.
interested in being a part of the study can contact: [email protected] for more