Insights on Gut Bacteria and Cognitive Health from Middle-Aged Adults: Jazmyn Muhammad, BS


The clinical research associate at the University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio discussed a study that explores the relationship between cognitive function and gut microbiome structure in middle-aged adults from the Framingham Heart Study cohort. [WATCH TIME: 4 minutes]

WATCH TIME: 4 minutes

"Cognitive function is intimately related to gut homeostasis, with specific bacteria abundances differing between poor cognition and normal cognition groups. Thus, further research should consider additional factors like diet, genetics, and cardiovascular risk in association with the gut microbiome to uncover potential driving or mediating factors."

The interactions between the brain and gut health are closely intertwined as research has demonstrated a strong association between gut dysbiosis and neurodegenerative conditions like Alzheimer disease. Despite this, there still remains a significant gap in knowledge concerning how cognitive changes impact the structure of the gut microbiome. In recent research, findings showed that poor cognition was associated with low levels of clostridium and ruminococcus gut bacteria and high levels of the bacteria alistipes and pseudobutyrivibrio compared to those with normal cognition.1

Lead author Jazmyn Muhammad, BS, clinical research associate at the University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio and the health science center’s Glenn Biggs Institute for Alzheimer’s and Neurodegenerative Diseases, presented the findings at the 2023 Alzheimer’s Association International Conference, July 16 to 20, in Amsterdam, the Netherlands. Muhammad and colleagues investigated more than 1,000 stool samples and cognitive test scores from participants in the Framingham Heart Study (mean age = 52, women, 55%).2

Muhammad recently sat down in an interview with NeurologyLive® during the meeting to offer a brief overview of the research. She talked about how the abundance of specific bacteria differed between the poor and normal cognition groups. Additionally, she spoke about the potential implications of the increased abundance of trimethylamine-producing species in relation to cardiovascular disease, type 2 diabetes, and obesity. In addition, Muhammad shared her thoughts on the next steps in research for exploring the connection between gut microbiome, cognitive function, and age-related diseases.

Click here for more coverage of AAIC 2023.

1. Muhammad JA,Wadop Ngouongo YJ, Ramirez S, et al. Poor cognition is associated with increased abundance of Alistipes and decreased abundance of Clostridium genera in the gut. Presented at: 2022 Alzheimer’s Association International Conference; July 16 to July 20; Amsterdam, the Netherlands.Abstract 76520.
2. Constipation Associated with Cognitive Aging and Decline. News Release. Alzheimer’s Association. Published July 19, 2023. Accessed July 21, 2023.
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