Researchers Identify a Potential new Cause of Alzheimer’s Disease

Dementia is currently the fifth leading cause of death worldwide.  And while 70 percent of dementia cases are caused by Alzheimer’s Disease, scientists still don’t know what causes AD.

Scientists have theorized that AD occurs when the brain over-accumulates two proteins – amyloid and tau.  But many people have amyloid plaques without suffering from dementia.  In addition, many efforts to treat AD by treating amyloid plaques have been unsuccessful.  (NewScientist)

Now scientists have a new theory, and it’s a doozy: AD is caused by Porphyromonas gingivalis – the same bacteria that causes gum disease.

In a new study, an international team of researchers found gingipains (toxic enzymes associated with P. gingivalis) in 96 percent of Alzheimer’s brain samples they examined.  Moreover, the bacteria and its enzymes were found at higher levels in patients who had experienced worse cognitive decline.

The researchers used Dako antibodies in their study.  Dako is a part of Agilent.

The researchers believe the brain over-accumulates amyloid as a defense against P. gingivalis.

“The findings of this study offer evidence that P. gingivalis and gingipains in the brain play a central role in the pathogenesis of AD, providing a new conceptual framework for disease treatment,” the researchers write.

Furthermore, therapeutics used to block P. gingivalis may be effective in treating AD.  Inhibitors may “reduce P. gingivalis infection in the brain and slow or prevent further neurodegeneration and accumulation of pathology in AD patients,” the researchers write.

For Research Use Only.  Not for use in diagnostic procedures.

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