Abstract

There is ample scientific and clinical evidence of the effects of gut microbiota on the brain but no definitive evidence that the brain can affect changes in gut microbiota under the bi-directional gut-brain axis concept. As there is no pharmacotherapeutic intervention for the early stages of cognitive decline, research has focused on cognitive stimulation in reversing or slowing the impairment. Elderly patients diagnosed with mild cognitive impairment underwent a randomized-control trial of mindful awareness practice. Neuropsychological assessments, inflammatory markers, and gut microbiota profiles were tested. Here, we report that their cognitive impairment was improved and associated with changes in gut bacterial profile. A cognition-score-dependent-abundance was observed in Ruminococcus vs Recognition Trials (RT), Digit Span Backward (DSB), Semantic Fluency Span (SFS) and Memory Domain (MD); Coprococcus vs DSB, Color Trails Test 2 (CTT2) and Block Design (BD); Parabacteroides vs DSB and SFS; Fusobacterium vs DSB and CTT2; Enterobacteriaceae vs BD and SFS; Ruminococcaceae vs DSB; Phascolarctobacterium vs MD. The study showed for the first-time, alteration in the cognitive capacity leading to the corresponding changes in microbiota profiles. This strongly suggests that signals from the different segments of brain could dictate directly or indirectly the abundances of specific gut microbes.