Fecal Microbiome Among Nursing Home Residents with Advanced Dementia and Clostridium difficile

Rafael Araos, Nikolaos Andreatos, Juan Ugalde, Susan Mitchell, Eleftherios Mylonakis, Erika M.C. D’Agata

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

24 Scopus citations


Background/Objectives: Patients colonized with toxinogenic strains of Clostridium difficile have an increased risk of subsequent infection. Given the potential role of the gut microbiome in increasing the risk of C. difficile colonization, we assessed the diversity and composition of the gut microbiota among long-term care facility (LTCF) residents with advanced dementia colonized with C. difficile. Design: Retrospective analysis of rectal samples collected during a prospective observational study. Setting: Thirty-five nursing homes in Boston, Massachusetts. Participants: Eighty-seven LTCF residents with advanced dementia. Measurements: Operational taxonomic units were identified using 16S rRNA sequencing. Samples positive for C. difficile were matched to negative controls in a 1:3 ratio and assessed for differences in alpha diversity, beta diversity, and differentially abundant features. Results: Clostridium difficile sequence variants were identified among 7/87 (8.04%) residents. No patient had evidence of C. difficile infection. Demographic characteristics and antimicrobial exposure were similar between the seven cases and 21 controls. The overall biodiversity among cases and controls was reduced with a median Shannon index of 3.2 (interquartile range 2.7–3.9), with no statistically significant differences between groups. The bacterial community structure was significantly different among residents with C. difficile colonization versus those without and included a predominance of Akkermansia spp., Dermabacter spp., Romboutsia spp., Meiothermus spp., Peptoclostridium spp., and Ruminococcaceae UGC 009. Conclusion: LTCF residents with advanced dementia have substantial dysbiosis of their gut microbiome. Specific taxa characterized C. difficile colonization status.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1525-1531
Number of pages7
JournalDigestive Diseases and Sciences
Issue number6
StatePublished - Jun 1 2018


  • Advanced dementia
  • Clostridium difficile
  • Colonization
  • Microbiome

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physiology
  • Gastroenterology


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