Alzheimer's Disease: Oral Bacteria May Be Responsible For Illness, Says Study

Memory problems are typically one of the first signs of Alzheimer’s.

Alzheimer’s disease is a degenerative disorder, that destroys brain cells. It leads to a decline in mental function, affecting memory, thinking, language, and behavior. According to the National Institute on Aging (NIA), the majority of people with the disease-those with late-onset symptoms-first exhibit symptoms in their mid-60s. Early-onset Alzheimer’s occurs between a person’s 30s and mid-60s and is very rare. Alzheimer’s disease is the most common cause of dementia among older adults.

There is currently no cure for Alzheimer’s disease, though significant progress has been made in developing and testing new treatments in recent years. Researchers have been working for a long time to determine the exact cause and cure of this disease, and they now have a significant lead.

According to ScienceAlert, now scientists are saying they’ve got one of the most definitive leads yet for a bacterial culprit behind Alzheimer’s, and it comes from a somewhat unexpected quarter: gum disease. In a new paper led by senior author Jan Potempa, a microbiologist from the University of Louisville, researchers report the discovery of Porphyromonas gingivalis, the pathogen behind chronic periodontitis (aka gum disease), in the brains of dead Alzheimer’s patients.

The report further stated that the research team, which is coordinated by pharma startup Cortexyme, which was co-founded by first author Stephen Dominy, isn’t claiming to have discovered definitive evidence of Alzheimer’s causation. Yet. But it’s clear they think we’ve got a strong line of investigation here.

“Infectious agents have been implicated in the development and progression of Alzheimer’s disease before, but the evidence of causation hasn’t been convincing,” Dominy says.

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

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