A protocol paper for the MOTION Study—A longitudinal study in a cohort aged 60 years and older to obtain mechanistic knowledge of the role of the gut microbiome during normal healthy ageing in order to develop strategies that will improve lifelong health and wellbeing

Sarah Phillips, Rachel Watt, Thomas Atkinson, Shelina Rajan, Antonietta Hayhoe, George M. Savva, Michael Hornberger, Ben J. L. Burton, Janak Saada, Melissa Cambell-Kelly, Simon Rushbrook, Simon R. Carding

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Background: Advances in medicine and public health mean that people are living longer; however, a significant proportion of that increased lifespan is spent in a prolonged state of declining health and wellbeing which places increasing pressure on medical, health and social services. There is a social and economic need to develop strategies to prevent or delay age-related disease and maintain lifelong health. Several studies have suggested links between the gut microbiome and age-related disease, which if confirmed would present a modifiable target for intervention development. The MOTION study aims to determine whether and how changes in the gut microbiome are associated with physical and mental capacity. A comprehensive longitudinal multiparameter study such as this has not been previously undertaken.

Methods: MOTION is a longitudinal prospective cohort study with a focus on gut health and cognitive function. 360 healthy individuals aged 60 years and older, living in East Anglia, UK will be recruited to the study, stratified into one of three risk groups (cohorts) for developing dementia based on their cognitive function. Participants will attend study appointments every six months over four years, providing stool and blood samples and a health questionnaire. Participants will also undergo physical measurements and cognitive tests at alternating appointments, and undergo Optical Coherence Tomography scans at 3 timepoints. Two subgroups of participants in the study will provide colonic tissue biopsies (n = ≥30 from each cohort), and brain imaging (n = 30) at two timepoints.

Discussion: This study will provide new insights into the gut-(microbiota)-brain axis and the relationship between age-associated changes in gut microbe populations and cognitive health. Such insights could help develop new microbe-based strategies to improve lifelong health and wellbeing.
Original languageEnglish
Article numbere0276118
JournalPLoS One
Issue number11
Publication statusPublished - 18 Nov 2022

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