Scientists Pinpoint Gum Disease Pathogen As Possible Cause Of Alzheimer's

Kenny Tucker
January 27, 2019

"It's important we carefully assess all new potential treatments, and this drug is now in an early phase clinical trial to establish if it is safe for people".

The study of 405 people identified 243 with a gene mutation that predisposes them to developing Alzheimer's, and 162 of their family members who do not have it. Blood tests of people with the mutation found higher levels of NfL.

Later studies on the mice found that a lack of sleep also sped up the spread of clumps of toxic tau in the brain, which could cause brain damage and dementia.

"Getting a good night's sleep is something we should all try to do", Holtzman said. "This provides hope of treating or preventing Alzheimer's disease one day", says Singhrao.

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.

Statistics record that as many as one in 14 over the age of 65 will be affected by one form or another of dementia.

Now, researchers at Cortexyme, an American pharmaceutical corporation who has invested heavily in gum disease research, add even more weight to the gum disease-Alzheimer's association.

All kinds of neurological damage can cause the neurofilament light protein to spill out of neurons and into blood. The study is ongoing.

Alluding to there being help for the disease, there are a several different FDA approved treatments for symptoms that come with Alzheimer's and Dementia.

By measuring the protein, Jucker said "we can measure with our blood test the changes in the brain many, many years before we have the symptoms".

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The same is true at long-term care facilities, with no outbreaks reported in the past two weeks and only two reports this season. Do not forget to cover your nose and mouth when coughing or sneezing and wash your hands frequently or use an alcohol-based rub.

The gene was also found in cerebro-spinal fluid from seven out of 10 living patients diagnosed with Alzheimer's.

The researchers performed brain scans and two cognitive tests on participants. In 2017, it was shown that deliberate infection gum-disease bacteria caused amyloid pathology and cognitive decline in a transgenic mouse model.

Jucker likened his team's work to the cancer field.

Tiago Outeiro, professor of neurodegeneration at Newcastle University, mentioned that studies like this, which identify microbes associated with disease, are "extremely attractive, as this might lead to the identification of strategies, such as antibiotics, which may specifically affect those microbes which associate with disease".

However, he welcomed the avenue of inquiry as no new drugs targeting Alzheimer's have been released for over 15 years.

Aricept, Exolon, Razadyne, Namenda and Namzaric are all treatments that just address some symptoms in some people, and do not treat an underlying cause of the disease.

They also plan to test it against gum disease itself. The researchers attribute this loss to an "elevation" of proteins responsible for suppressing glutamate receptor maintenance, otherwise known as repressive histone modifiers.

"Now, for the first time, we have solid evidence connecting the intracellular gram-negative pathogen Pg (P. gingivalis) and Alzheimer's pathogenisis, while also demonstrating the potential for a class of small molecule therapies to change the trajectory of the disease". That's partly because other recent studies that have explored the link with periodontal disease have not always found it in people with Alzheimer's.

"Information from our study can help guide how we assess living Hispanic patients who may have Alzheimer's, to more accurately detect the disease in its early stages", says Helen Jarrett, chair of Alzheimer's research at the University of California San Diego School of Medicine.

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