Faecal samples could reveal if you’re at risk of developing dementia, scientists claim.
Patients with dementia have different levels of bacteria compared to those without the memory-robbing disorder.
Researchers in Japan now believe bugs in the gut may lead to the condition, which affects millions of people around the world.
The findings shed further light on how a healthy microbiome could be key for the prevention of dementia.
The research will be presented in Honolulu, Hawaii, at the American Stroke Association’s International Stroke Conference 2019.
Samples of 128 participants – of which half had dementia – were taken by the researchers at the National Center for Geriatrics and Gerontology in Japan.
The analysis revealed that faecal concentrations of ammonia, indole, skatole and phenol were higher in dementia patients compared to those without dementia.
But levels of Bacteroides – organisms which normally live in the intestines and can be beneficial – were lower in dementia patients.
The bacteria are generally beneficial when retained in the gut, but when they escape, they have been shown to cause disease.
The authors wrote: ‘Similar associations have been found in previous studies of patients with carotid stenosis and coronary artery. Bacteroides can regulate endothelial cell function and reduce inflammation.