Central Lechera Asturiana and five other institutions of the Principality launch the first study of the effect of microbiota in the elderly population to achieve healthy aging

  • It will be endorsed by more than 35 multidisciplinary researchers.
  • The IDEPA (the Institute for the Economic Development of the Principality of Asturias) will provide financial support through its call for R&D projects.

Central Lechera Asturiana, together with five other public and private Asturian institutions (Center for Biomedical Research in Mental Health Network, Institute of Oncological and Molecular Medicine of Asturias – IMOMA – , OVIDA, Health Service of the Principality of Asturias and the Institute of Health Research of the Principality of Asturias) have launched the first study focused on the senior population to know about the characteristics of the intestinal microbiota that contribute to healthy aging. Julio Bobes, Head of the Psychiatry Service of the Central University Hospital of Asturias, and his team will lead the study. Further, more than 35 multidisciplinary researchers will be involved, which will confer the study high scientific rigor.

The study

Several research studies have established a direct link between changes in the intestinal microbiota as a consequence of the age and the presence of some physical and mental diseases, as well as with frailty syndrome, which causes decrease in the body’s ability to respond to external factors, increasing risk of falls, functional decline, disability, etc. However, currently, no studies allow us to have detailed information on the microbiota effect in elderly people. Thus, this initiative is aimed to characterize and compare the intestinal metagenome (set of genomes of all intestinal microorganisms) in robust and fragile older people.

Participant Recruitment and methodology

More than 200 hundred people over 70 will be recruited to carry out the project. These will be people from different centers of mental health: La Ería, La Corredoria and Langreo, as well as Monte Naranco and Centro Intergeneracional Ovida. The participants must meet some requirements to be eligible to take part in it. Amongst other, they will have to complete a questionnaire asking for information related to the diet and psychological and psychiatric data. They must also undergo the necessary clinical tests to assess their frailty index, in addition to biological tests of blood and feces, to know the state of their microbiota. The latter will be analyzed by IMOMA.


Once the metagenome data of each of the individuals participating in the study is obtained, a biostatistical analysis will be performed to identify those bacteria that are beneficial for a healthy aging. It is expected that the results and findings of the study will be presented next year.