48 minutes | Feb 15, 2021

Julie Andersen: Could improved gut health help prevent Alzheimer's?

Cognitive decline is an all-too-familiar hallmark of age-related diseases, such as Alzheimer's and Parkinson's. While there is much research that focuses exclusively on functional changes in the brain, the so-called gut-brain axis  - a connection between the digestive system and the central nervous system - also appears to play a pivotal role. It raises the question: Could nutritional interventions, to nurture the health of the gut microbiome, also help prevent or reverse age-related dementia?  In 2018, Dr. Julie Andersen, a scientist at the Buck Institute for Research On Aging, in California, received a $3.8 million grant to explore the hypothesis.  In this LLAMA podcast episode, Dr. Andersen discusses the work of her laboratory, and the idea that a gut metabolite, urolithin A, could play an important role in the treatment of Alzheimer's disease. 

Recorded: February 9, 2021 | Read a transcript and show notes at the LLAMA podcast website.

Topics covered in this interview include:

  • Working at the Buck Institute for Research On Aging - the only freestanding institute studying aging and age-related disease.
  • A multi-disciplinary approach to aging research, embracing a range of diseases and mechanisms that drive-age related conditions. 
  • Evolving definitions of aging.
  • Exploring autophagy, mitochondrial function, urolithin A and muscle health, in relation to Parkinson's and Alzheimer's disease. 
  • The science and logic behind restoring an older person's gut microbiome to that of a younger person. 
  • Building on "exciting" clinical trials, by Amazentis, looking at the efficacy, in older humans, of Urolithin A, to enhance muscle function.
  • Exploring the relatively new area of study known as the gut-brain axis.
  • Explaining the scientific process, grants and clinical trials.
  • How preliminary preclinical trial data suggests urolithin fed to mice may prevent cognitive loss associated with Alzheimer's disease.  
  • Turning 60 and aspirations for a long healthspan. 

This episode is brought to you in association with Amazentis, a Swiss life science company, that is pioneering cutting edge, clinically validated cellular nutrition, under its Timeline brand.

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The Live Long and Master Aging podcast shares ideas but does not offer medical advice.  If you have health concerns of any kind, or you are considering adopting a new diet or exercise regime, you should consult your doctor.

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