Could gum disease lead to Alzheimer's?

Could gum disease lead to Alzheimer's?

In case you needed more reason to floss, scientists say a growing body of research indicates that Alzheimer's disease might be linked to Porphyromonas gingivalis, a strain of bacteria that's also known for causing chronic gum disease, New Scientist reports. A 2018 study examined the presence and levels of amyloid beta in a person's brain by looking at people with varying levels of health, including some with who were healthy, some who had mild cognitive impairments and some who had Alzheimer's disease.

Tests on the animals confirmed that gingipain enzymes destroyed brain neurons.

This is important because previous studies have found a link between P. gingivalis and Alzheimer's before, but it's been unclear whether poor oral care is just a side effect of dementia.

The new study is one of a growing number that suggest microbes play a role in Alzheimer's disease.

The causes of Alzheimer's disease are still debated. In a lab dish, the gingipains-whose job is to chop up proteins-damaged tau, a regularly occurring brain protein that forms tangles in people with Alzheimer's.

Casey Lynch, Cortexyme's co-founder said, 'Despite significant funding and the best efforts of academic, industry, and advocacy communities, clinical progress against Alzheimer's has been frustratingly slow. Montagne said. "If we find a cure, if we find a way to seal the blood barrier, we may be able to help cure other diseases". If the findings are shown to be correct, this could offer one reason for why 5.7 million Americans are now living with Alzheimer's disease: a figure set to rise to 14 million by 2050. In the United Kingdom, 850,000 people live with dementia, according to the Alzheimer's Society. In mouse models, oral Pg infection led to brain colonization and increased production of amyloid beta (Aβ), a component of the amyloid plaques commonly associated with Alzheimer's.

Researchers found that, in mice, tau levels were about twice as high during times when they were awake and active.

But they say it is still not clear what role gum disease bacteria has in the development of Alzheimer's. "But the evidence of causation hasn't been convincing".

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"Now, for the first time, we have solid evidence connecting the intracellular, Gram-negative pathogen, P. gingivalis, and Alzheimer's pathogenesis".

"Drugs targeting the bacteria's toxic proteins have so far only shown benefit in mice, yet with no new dementia treatments in over 15 years it's important that we test as many approaches as possible to tackle diseases like Alzheimer's", chief scientific officer David Reynolds from Alzheimer's Research commented in a statement. In both mice and human brain tissue, scientists discovered a drop in receptors for glutamate, a neurotransmitter in the brain necessary for both learning and short-term memory retention. The test is already commercially available; it detects NfL in cerebrospinal fluid for measurement of different neurological conditions, and Jucker is confident that future clinical trials for new Alzheimer's drugs will include the marker his team developed.

"We found that in Alzheimer's disease, many subunits of glutamate receptors in the frontal cortex are downregulated, disrupting the excitatory signals, which impairs working memory", Yan said.

The charity Alzheimer's Society, responding to this study, said the research it had been involved in had not found gum disease to be a key risk factor for Alzheimer's.

But even more compellingly, the team identified these toxic gingipains in the brains of deceased people who were never diagnosed with Alzheimer's.

Cortexyme has completed a stage one trial testing the safety of the COR388 compound in humans. It was well-tolerated, and the nine patients with Alzheimer's disease showed improved results, compared with another group who did not receive the treatment, when completing several cognitive tests.

A poor night's sleep has always been linked with Alzheimer's disease which affects more than 500,000 people in Britain and 5.7 million Americans.

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