Alzheimer’s disease is the leading cause of dementia. It progressively worsens multiple aspects of health over time, from short-term memory loss to behavioral changes to loss of bodily functions. The actual cause of Alzheimer’s is currently unknown. One widely-accepted hypothesis proposes that Alzheimer’s is caused by the accumulation of misfolded proteins in the brain. Unfortunately, many drugs targeting misfolded proteins perform poorly in clinical trials, hinting that this hypothesis might be wrong. Misfolded proteins might be another side effect, not the cause.

Researchers recently published a new line of evidence supporting a hypothesis that Alzheimer’s might be a result of an infection by oral bacteria P. gingivalis. The bacteria produces toxins called gingipains that are found to accumulate in the brain of Alzheimer’s patients. The gingipains degrade human proteins, giving rise to the infamous misfolded proteins. The researchers also developed chemical compounds that could neutralize gingipains. Mice injected with gingipains developed degenerate brain cells, while mice that were pretreated with neutralizing compounds beforehand maintained healthy brain cells.

Although this new work might be the much-needed breakthrough in curing Alzheimer’s disease, the hypothesis is not conclusively proven and many questions still remain. Is P. gingivalis actually the cause of Alzheimer’s? Some experts still believe the disease could be caused by a fungal or viral infection. How does the bacteria get from the gum to the brain? What else does the gingipain toxin interact with in the brain? Are the neutralizing compounds safe or even effective in humans? 

Managing Correspondent: Veerasak (Jeep) Srisuknimit

Original Paper: Science Advance

Press article: Science, ScienceNews

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Image Credit: Modified from Pixabay

36 thoughts on “Oral bacteria may be responsible for Alzheimer’s disease

  1. Awesome blog! Is your theme custom made or did you download it from somewhere?
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  2. Having peridontal disease is quite prevalent in Elderly patients due to poor nutrition and poor dental hygiene.This may all be secondary.The primary cause being related to a weak immune system.Thus the immune system needs to be boosted by means of good nutrition.Also CES therapy can be used as a neuromodulator to upgrade the immune system.This is not being used in Orthodox Medicine.It is certainly very effective with no side effects.The risks with neuromodulating drugs are the side effects in Elderly patients.CES therapy is the way of future Medicine.The Drug industry would not be supportive as this will bring down their financial reports sinificantly!

  3. There’s overwhelming evidence that gum disease is linked to Alzheimer’s and dementia. Why is there so much denial from the medical industry?

  4. How can this bacteria be eliminated, perixode, antibiotics? And what are the symptoms of alzheimer’s?

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