New research at Flinders will examine the outdoor environment’s potential for supplying health-beneficial butyrate-producing bacteria to people.
Dementia is a general term for a variety of symptoms that affect the brain, including thinking, behaviour, and the ability to perform normal everyday tasks. The most common forms of dementia include Alzheimer’s disease, vascular dementia, Lewy body dementia, and frontotemporal dementia. Combined, these conditions are the second leading cause of death for Australians.
Dementia has a devastating impact on nearly half a million Australians, and experts predict this figure will double by the year 2058. In 2021, South Australia had the highest proportion of people living with dementia (39,200) in the country.
Currently, there is no effective way of identifying people at greatest risk of developing dementia, or those in the early stages.
Dr Andrew Shoubridge has received a Flinders Foundation Health Seed Grant to connect gut microbiology features with signs of dementia in South Australians diagnosed with dementia through the Australian Dementia Network.
“Healthy gut microbiology can help to prevent inflammation that contributes to dementia risk. We have shown that features of intestinal microbiology are associated with dementia severity. By better understanding these relationships, we aim to develop strategies to reduce risk and prevent, or delay onset of dementia,” Dr Shoubridge said.
“We will identify opportunities to directly reduce dementia risk, both by informing effective public health measures and through the development of new therapies that target gut microbiology.
“This research project aims to help reduce the number of people living with dementia, the potential burden on their families and carers, and the wider South Australian and national communities.”
Research category: Clinical
Project title: Targeting of host-microbiome interactions to achieve precision dementia risk reduction
Lead researcher: Dr Andrew Shoubridge
Flinders Foundation acknowledges the Kaurna people as the traditional custodians of the land on which the Flinders precinct was established. We acknowledge the Kaurna people’s deep and ongoing connection to land, waters and community, and pay our respect to their Elders, past and present.