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

Related SITN articles:

Bacteria may live naturally inside the human brain

Hope for Alzheimer’s patients? The first positive clinical trial results in years

Protein Treatment for Alzheimer’s Disease?

Image Credit: Modified from Pixabay

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

  1. My husband who has Alzheimers for the past 2 years was treated for gum disease 20 years ago. Do they think its a previous infection or a current infection. Are there any clinical trials expected?
    Thank you

    1. Hi Mary,
      My mother had Alzheimer’s disease. The nursing home where she was supposed to be looked after more than often didn’t feed her decent food and her weight went down so much that she was only skin and bone and she wouldn’t talk except to “the pain”.
      I asked the manager of the nursing home how long she had to live and they told me about a week.
      When I arrived home, I pleaded with all my heart and soul to God for an answer. IO loved my mother and I didn’t want her to die.
      God gave me an answer, and I heard it clearly from Him in just one word, “Nourishment”.
      MY sister had given me the book “Raw Energy by Leslie Kenton” and I had been on it quite some time ago and knew how great it makes you feel, so I decided to feed my mother with all raw foods apart from fish which had to be cooked.
      Because the nursing home had lost my mother’s false teeth, I had to blend everything in a drink, or cut it up so small that she didn’t need to chew it.
      I noticed that within a week she had improved quite a lot, and after a month, she was chatting and happy, but still very weak in strength.
      Continuing on with the diet and making sure that she had all the necessary nutrients, my mother seemed to be back to her old self, laughing and joking and talking about all sorts of things.
      I had my mother for another three years and three months, but the nursing staff let her fall out of bed onto the ceramic floor when they came to wash her and the fall broke her ankle and wrist. The nursing home manager said that they had a doctor examine her and that the swelling was lasix in the blood.
      This is when the nursing home gave her Panadol for pain relief. My mother was put on a morphine drip and she died
      a few days later when I saw the give her five pumps of morphine.
      My sister came down from Queensland and because the plane was late she didn’t get to see my mother while she was still alive, but examined my mother a few moments after she died and said that our mother’s wrist and ankle were broken. ( something we weren’t told about).
      Don’t leave anyone in the care of a nursing home without watching carefully that they are fed and cared for properly.
      God bless you.

      Valerie.

      1. Looks like this nursing homeshould be investigated. First they were under nourishing her then they dropped her and she broke broke her wrist and angle. This is all negligence and therefore accountable.

      2. My Mom is 94 and was in nursing home because an OD on Xanax her dr gave her for “Anxiety” and Ativan which made her completely crazy and was calling the cops a dozen times a day to “talk” then answered the door to them holding a knife. They basically wanted to commit her. I took her to a gereatric mental hosp in Newport Beach. They helped her then transitioned her to a nursing home because that was the best and safest place for her. . Her DR. got her addicted to pills. I was going twice weekly to nursing home and bringing her food and changing her bed and cleaning her table. Nursing Homes ARE FOR PROFIT..they really don’t give a shit. They said all they get is five bucks a day per person to feed them FIVE BUCKS?!! We are talking hot dogs, cheese sandwiches . The chef told me they have to load everything up with Fat to put weight on the “customers” nothing to do with health. They called me last year telling me because of Co-Vid I cant visit my mom and she hadn’t eaten in 3 days. As difficult and life changing for me, I just went and got her, they sent me hospice saying she wasnt going to make it another month. Its now been over a year 24/7 and she went from 60 pounds to 80 pounds here 🙂 But now I have to take time off for other things and I have noone to care for her so I have to put her back in a nursing home. Its hard and I feel so bad. I agree if you have a loved one in a nursing home. WATCH, RECORD, VIDEO TAPE and REPORT any concerns you have to the STATE. LOUDLY thats the only way our elderly will get any attention, when the Government makes a visit because of Elder abuse complaints. Love to all. I wish you good health and happiness

    1. Why don’t people study beneficial microbes more? I make a cheese from cultures containing rhamanosus , the dental health microbe, along with other cultures, including buttermilk. Make microbial tea, look up BioAg microbial formulas.,eat more sauerkraut, fresh butter, raw goat milk. Gut health is the answer, and the gut begins in the mouth.

  2. Are there any positive benefits from using drugs such as inbexa , donecept. And resperidone in the treatment of alzheimers

    1. Being so certain n relaxed that Alzheimer will never attack us is not fair,for that matter it can affect any one with aging,may be that in some people it comes as early as at 50 age n in some
      as late as 90 which is taken as normal regressive phenomena. The exact etiology n pathophysiology is not verified as till date but with due time it may be established with causes.

  3. Veerasak, I’ve been doing some research in herbs, and I might have found something promising. Any chance I could get your thoughts on the subject via email? Thank you for your time!

    1. I have used many things for my mother and still using coconut oil , black seeds ,pumpkin seeds and coriander seeds and I think of using mastic raisin…what do you think of that . I hope to get some answer

  4. I am very interested to see what comes of this study. I am a dental hygienist and have been wondering if there is a link for the past few years. I have had a few patients over the years diagnosed with Alzheimer’s/Dementia and I started to notice some of them with uncontrolled periodontal disease or what seemed to be more aggressive bacteria present. It’s hard to say if this was always present or lack of homecare due to the disease. It makes me want to keep closer watch on my patients and their health histories. I’m hopeful this is getting closer to a cure.

  5. An alzhemeir patient needs a care from a person. And also gives up his oral care. The person who takes care of him usually gets tire and can ignore the cleaning of teeth, so mouth. So giving up dental care results with an increasing amount of bacteria…

    1. True statement. Lots of patients who don’t use the arms have bad oral health due to people ignoring the oral care. Lots of patients who have dementia will not let you brush their teeth.

  6. Does the regular use of a mouthwash (e.g. Listerine) prevent these bacteria from settling in a person’s mouth?

  7. Do you have any experience with treatment using the keto diet? There’s a lot of dementia in my family and I always forgot my keys, wallet and phone, but after dropping all carbs I have a much better memory.

    1. Hi Tony,
      My mother had Alzheimer’s disease. The nursing home where she was supposed to be looked after, more often than not, didn’t give her food that she could eat, and if she hadn’t eaten it in ten minutes, the plate of food was taken away. It didn’t matter to them that she couldn’t feed herself, or that she was a vegetarian and didn’t eat meat, so her weight went down so much that she was only skin and bone and eventually, she wouldn’t talk. I asked the manager of the nursing home how long she had to live and they told me about a week. When I arrived home, I pleaded with my whole heart and soul to God for an answer. I told Him that I love my mother and I don’t want her to die. It took a lot of pleading and crying but I kept a it until God gave me an answer, and I heard it clearly from Him in just one word, “Nourishment”. It came to me supernaturally.
      MY sister had given me the book “Raw Energy by Leslie Kenton” and I had been on that diet quite some years ago, so I knew how great it makes you feel and look. That’s why I decided to feed my mother with all raw foods apart from the fish which had to be cooked.
      Because the nursing home had lost my mother’s false teeth, I had to blend everything into a drink, or cut it up so finely that she didn’t need to chew it. It didn’t help that they brought in dried toast and an egg for her breakfast each morning or that they didn’t feed her the food that I had prepared and brought in for them to give her for her evening meals. When I asked for the week’s food containers, I was told that they were in the refrigerator, and of course, they were full of food, so my mother had only one meal a day.
      I noticed that within a week she had improved quite a lot, and after a month, she was chatting and happy, but still very weak in strength. Continuing on with the diet and making sure that she had all the necessary nutrients, my mother seemed to be back to her old self again, laughing and joking and talking about all sorts of things. I had my mother for another three years and three months, but the nursing staff let her fall out of bed onto the ceramic floor when they came to wash her. The fall broke her ankle and wrist, and they had her lying on the side where she had most of the bruising so that we wouldn’t notice how bad it really was. The nursing home matron said that the doctor came in to examine my mother, and he said that the swelling was Lasix in the blood.
      When my mother crossed her arms and wouldn’t put them down, I asked her what was wrong and she said “the pain”. This is when the matron told me that they gave her Panadol for the pain relief. I told them that my mother needs to go to the hospital for treatment, but they wouldn’t allow it because her husband who had since died, had filled in a form that she wasn’t to go into the hospital. My mother was put into Palliative Care and she was put on a morphine drip. She died a few days later after I saw the nurse give her five pumps of morphine. My sister came down from Queensland and because the plane was late she didn’t get to see my mother while she was still alive, but she examined mum a few moments after mum had died and she said that our mother’s wrist and ankle were broken, (that’s something we weren’t told about).
      Please don’t leave anyone in the care of a nursing home without watching carefully that they are given enough to drink and are fed and cared for appropriately. God bless you and your family and I praise God for His answer to my prayers.
      Valerie.

    1. Hi Gayle,
      While antibiotics may sometimes be necessary, however, depending on what they are used for, they are not taken without risks.
      Antibiotics get rid of your good gut bacteria as well as your bad gut bacteria, and it takes at least two years or more to get your good bacteria to come back, but just as it takes many years for a rain forest to recover from the devastation of a fire, so it takes many years for your immune system to recover from antibiotics.
      When taking antibiotics, you would be wise to take acidophilus as well, to help your immune system to recover more easily.
      If you’ve already been on antibiotics, maybe you should speak to your health care professional about taking prebiotics to help to feed and replenish your good gut bacteria, but don’t take probiotics or you could have a nasty reaction to them because they feed the bad gut bacteria which feeds on the good gut bacteria.
      Your skin is an organ and toxins are removed through your skin. so you can end up with a nasty itching rash like eczema or psoriasis that can exist for quite a long time.
      Back in the year l903, a very soft toothbrush was used with a little salt in cool, boiled, distilled, and filtered rain water to brush the teeth and gums after each meal, and then the mouth was rinsed out with the rest of the salty water.

  8. I need to correct some mistakes that showed up on my comment before it’s published. 1. to say the pain. 2. 1 instead of IO.

  9. There were some typing errors in my reply which need to be corrected as I mentioned above.
    My reply to Tony is the correct one.
    The reply to Mary Foley had the typing errors that need to be changed.

  10. I have read your writings and I have read articles on this topic in several articles from other sources. I got a lot of information from your writing, is there any other suggestions you can convey regarding the theme of your writing? so that I can get more and more complete information.

    I certainly thank you for writing this article well, hopefully it will become a reference in journals or other scientific writings and can help many people. thanks.

  11. Thanks to the Lord the creator of everything , My mother has made a good progress in using the natural herbs

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *