A rather new and somewhat unusual concept connects brain functions to gut microbiota. It is called “gut-brain axis” (or “microbiota-gut-brain axis”) and states that probiotics consumption and a healthy gut microbiota positively influence brain functions related to behavior and cognition. Synergistic with a low chronic grade peripheral inflammation, this faulty barrier exposes the aged brain to negative extra-cerebral signals. Given the quasi-constant failure of pharmacological treatments in neurodegenerative diseases, increased interest is directed toward allopathic medicine, including dietary supplements. Interplay between gut microbiota and central nervous system by immune, neural and metabolic pathways is being explored as a possible modulator of cognitive impairment and behavior disorders. In elderly persons, this axis has been reported to be altered, contributing to systemic inflammation and was also indicated as a possible marker for early frailty in younger population. Currently, there are several clinical trials addressing the relationship between gut microbiota and central nervous system psychiatric disorders and at least one directly investigating whether there is a correlation between composition of gut microbiome, permeability of intestinal barrier and systemic inflammation in patients with dementia. This chapter discusses evidence-based data on positive modulation of gut-brain axis to alleviate behavior and cognition alterations in the elderly.
Part of the book: Gerontology
Diagnosis of autoimmune diseases is crucial for the clinician and the patient alike. The immunoassay techniques most commonly used for this purpose are immunohistochemistry, ELISA, and Western blotting. For the detection of more specific biomarkers or the discovery of new ones for diagnostic purposes and as therapeutic targets, microarray techniques are increasingly used, for example, protein microarray, Luminex, and in recent years, surface plasmon resonance imaging. All of these technologies have undergone changes over time, making them easier to use. Similar technologies have been invented but responding to specific requirements for both diagnostic and research purposes. The goals are to study more analytes in the same sample, in a shorter time, and with increased accuracy. The reproducibility and reliability of the results are also a target pursued by manufacturers. In this chapter, we present these technologies and their utility in the diagnosis of immunogenetic diseases.
Part of the book: Immunogenetics
Muscular dystrophies are a diverse group of inherited muscle disorders with a wide range of clinical manifestations from a severe form with early onset and early death to adult forms with later onset and minimal clinical manifestation that do not affect life-span. Overlapping clinical symptoms and the multitude of genes that need to be analyzed for an accurate characterization make the diagnosis hard. In next-generation sequencing era, a lot of used assay in molecular diagnostics must be taken into consideration for muscular dystrophy diagnosis. However, for more accurate diagnosis, muscle protein expressions analysis may have prognostic value. In this chapter, we present the most important clinical and laboratory findings in the most common forms of muscular dystrophies and molecular diagnostic approaches for a more accurate diagnosis.
Part of the book: Muscular Dystrophies