Study: Antibiotics may slow progression of Alzheimer's

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A new kind of “personalized” medicine could be developed.
A new kind of “personalized” medicine could be developed.

Long-term treatment with antibiotics could help decrease levels of amyloid plaques, a telltale sign of Alzheimer's disease, according to recent study results.

Researchers from the University of Chicago gave mice high doses of broad-spectrum antibiotics over a course of five to six months. Results showed a “dramatic” shift in diversity in the gut microbiome after the treatment.

Mice that received antibiotics also showed a two-fold drop in the number of amyloid plaques, compared to mice that did not receive treatment.

While the study's findings open up future research on the link between the gut microbiome and the brain, researchers warn that antibiotics shouldn't be hailed as a treatment for Alzheimer's just yet.

“We don't propose that a long-term course of antibiotics is going to be a treatment — that's just absurd for a whole number of reasons,” said lead researcher Myles Minter, Ph.D., in a news release. “But what this study does is allow us to explore further.”

Understanding how changes in gut bacteria impact  the onset or progression of  Alzheimer's disease could allow researchers to create “a new kind of personalized medicine” and ways to treat people as soon as they show clinical signs of dementia, Minter added.

Study findings were published in late July in Scientific Reports