What is ThinkGut?
The deterioration of cognitive function is one of the main threats in the world population and, in particular, in the European Union, due to the increase in life expectancy. In addition, there is a growing prevalence of chronic metabolic disorders, which is accompanied by cognitive dysfunction from the middle ages of life.
The intestinal microbiota is becoming increasingly important in the physiopathology of many entities, especially those that are accompanied by low-grade inflammation, such as obesity, type 2 diabetes, or metabolic syndrome. Studies carried out with different animal models have allowed identifying characteristic profiles of microbiota and changes in the richness of microbial genes, in association with the different domains of cognitive function. As a result, cognitive flexibility, executive function, and attention have been related to a characteristic microbiome. In humans, pilot studies have also found preliminary associations between intestinal microbiota and different cognitive traits.
However, evidence in humans remains insufficient. Thus, further research is needed to expand current knowledge about the role of the microbiota in cognitive function, as well as its short- and long-term clinical implications. To this end, prospective and long-term studies are needed to establish an early diagnosis and to carry out an appropriate therapeutic approach.
To face this problem, a transboundary consortium has been formed in the area of microbiota and cognition that, through the use of exploratory tools and human databases, work in the identification of those bacterial species and their metabolites that interact with the intestinal-brain-microbiota axis and their impact in the neurocognitive decline.
European Regional Development Fund
The ThinkGut project, co-financed at 65% by the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) through the Interreg V-A Spain-France-Andorra Programme (POCTEFA 2014-2020), has a total budget of 1.3 million euros.