Project 176 – Basic understanding of Tasmanian older adult gut microbiota

21 Jan 2018

Dr Raj Eri & Assoc Prof Katie Flanagan – $7,000

Tasmania has the highest percentage of elderly people in Australia. The elderly group also represents a rapidly increasing proportion of the world’s population. The gut microbiota changes with increasing age and becomes more abnormal – something called dysbiosis. Recent research links such changes in gut bacteria to susceptibility to inflammation, frailty, infections, dementia, anxiety, depression, diabetes and multiple other chronic diseases.

 This project aims to identify what differences there are in the gut bacteria (called microbiota) in elderly people compared to younger adults, i.e. determine if there is a gut flora specific to elderly Tasmanians (over 65 years of age).

 It is thought that manipulation of the microbiota using simple interventions such as probiotics may offer a window of opportunity to address multiple health issues in the elderly. This study will provide a further ‘jigsaw piece’ of information into the role of microbiota.