Study: Gum disease linked to Alzheimer’s
Does gum disease play a role in whether or not you get Alzheimer’s disease?
Scientists believe it may, after a study found a link between bacteria in gum disease and people with dementia.
Researchers say their findings should offer hope for a new way of tackling Alzheimer’s, which has no treatments and no cure.
Scientists looked at brain tissue, spinal fluid, and saliva from patients, both dead and alive, with Alzheimer’s.
Their study, published in the journal Science Advances, found bacteria associated with chronic gum disease, Porphyromonas gingivalis, in the brains of people with Alzheimer’s.
Tests on mice confirmed the bacteria could travel from the mouth to the brain and showed the toxic protein they secrete, called gingipain, destroys brain neurons.
The bacteria also increased production of amyloid beta, a key component of the amyloid plaques in the brain, commonly seen with Alzheimer’s.
Scientists went even further. They tested drugs in mice which blocked the toxic proteins and found they were able to halt brain deterioration.
The team has now developed a new drug they hope could be used in human treatment and plan to test it in people with mild to moderate Alzheimer’s, in a clinical trial, later this year.
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