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Study Links Gum Disease-Causing Bacteria to Alzheimer’s

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Researchers say they've found more evidence linking bacteria found in a common type of gum disease to dementia. A new study, published in the journal Science Advances, found a key pathogen associated with chronic periodontal disease in the brains of people with Alzheimer's disease.

The study authors say these results, plus additional testing in mice, provide "solid evidence" of a link between the two diseases and may offer a potential new way to treat Alzheimer's. The illness affects 47 million people worldwide, and there is no cure.

Scientists from Cortexyme, Inc., a privately held, clinical-stage pharmaceutical company, analyzed the brain tissues of patients with Alzheimer's disease and found evidence of Porphyromonas gingivalis, the bacteria associated with gum disease. Further tests in mice found that this bacteria could travel from the mouth to the brain and increased production of amyloid beta, a protein strongly associated with Alzheimer's.

"The findings of this study offer evidence that P. gingivalis and gingipains in the brain play a central role in the pathogenesis [development] of AD [Alzheimer's disease], providing a new conceptual framework for disease treatment," the study authors write.

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