From the Lab, Research Radar

Probiotics for Brain Health?

Probiotics might help cognitive function, according to a new study in rats. Live microorganisms that can improve gut health, they are found in live-culture yogurt and other fermented foods and are sold as dietary supplements.

Researchers administered these beneficial microorganisms or water to two groups of rats: controls, and rats who had received a brain injection of amyloid, the protein that accumulates in the brains of people with Alzheimer’s disease.

In rats receiving the brain injection, treatment with these good bacteria led to better performance on a test of spatial memory, compared to those receiving water. Treatment also improved a measure of neuronal function called long-term potentiation, which underlies learning.

Rezaei AZ, et al. Probiotic treatment improves the impaired spatial cognitive performance and restores synaptic plasticity in an animal model of Alzheimer’s disease. Behav Brain Res. 2019;376:112183. doi: 10.1016/j.bbr.2019.112183.