What is the association between the microbiome and cognition? An umbrella review protocol

Joshua Z. Goldenberg, Traver J. Wright, Richard D. Batson, Ryan S. Wexler, Kristen A. McGovern, Navneet K. Venugopal, Weston W. Ward, Kathleen M. Randolph, Randall J. Urban, Richard B. Pyles, Melinda Sheffield-Moore

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Introduction Cognitive impairment is reported in a variety of clinical conditions including Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s and ‘long-COVID’. Interestingly, many of these clinical conditions are also associated with microbial dysbiosis. This comanifestation of cognitive and microbiome findings in seemingly unrelated maladies suggests that they could share a common mechanism and potentially presents a treatment target. Although a rapidly growing body of literature has documented this comorbid presentation within specific conditions, an overview highlighting potential parallels across healthy and clinical populations is lacking. The objective of this umbrella review, therefore, is to summarise and synthesise the findings of these systematic reviews. Methods and analysis On 2 April 2023, we searched MEDLINE (Pubmed), Embase (Ovid), the Web of Science (Core Collection), the Cochrane Library of Systematic Reviews and Epistemonikos as well as grey literature sources, for systematic reviews on clinical conditions and interventions where cognitive and microbiome outcomes were coreported. An updated search will be conducted before completion of the project if the search-to-publication date is >1 year old. Screening, data abstraction and quality assessment (AMSTAR 2, A MeaSurement Tool to Assess systematic Reviews) will be conducted independently and in duplicate, with disagreements resolved by consensus. Evidence certainty statements for each review’s conclusions (eg, Grading of Recommendations Assessment, Development and Evaluation (GRADE)) will be extracted or constructed de novo. A narrative synthesis will be conducted and delineated by the review question. Primary study overlap will be visualised using a citation matrix as well as calculated using the corrected covered area method. Ethics and dissemination No participant-identifying information will be used in this review. No ethics approval was required due to our study methodology. Our findings will be presented at national and international conferences and disseminated via social media and press releases. We will recruit at least one person living with cognitive impairment to collaborate on writing the plain language summary for the review.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numbere077873
JournalBMJ open
Issue number6
StatePublished - Jun 18 2024


  • Delirium & cognitive disorders
  • Dementia
  • Systematic Review

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Medicine


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