Gum Disease May Cause Alzheimer’s

You bastards better keep flossing! According to NewScientist

If you bled when you brushed your teeth this morning, you might want to get that seen to. We may finally have found the long-elusive cause of Alzheimer’s disease: Porphyromonas gingivalis, the key bacteria in chronic gum disease.

That’s bad, as gum disease affects around a third of all people. But the good news is that a drug that blocks the main toxins of P. gingivalis is entering major clinical trials this year, and research published today shows it might stop and even reverse Alzheimer’s. There could even be a vaccine.

Multiple research teams have been investigating P. gingivalis, and have so far found that it invades and inflames brain regions affected by Alzheimer’s; that gum infections can worsen symptoms in mice genetically engineered to have Alzheimer’s; and that it can cause Alzheimer’s-like brain inflammation, neural damage, and amyloid plaques in healthy mice.

“When science converges from multiple independent laboratories like this, it is very compelling,” says Casey Lynch of Cortexyme, a pharmaceutical firm in San Francisco, California.

In the new study, Cortexyme have now reported finding the toxic enzymes – called gingipains – that P. gingivalis uses to feed on human tissue in 96 per cent of the 54 Alzheimer’s brain samples they looked at, and found the bacteria themselves in all three Alzheimer’s brains whose DNA they examined.

Full article here.

5 Replies to “Gum Disease May Cause Alzheimer’s”

  1. Dr. Makerbot Emeritus Dentisto, this is cutting edge cool stuff. Hasn’t even worked its way out into the standard descriptions of the development of Alzheimer’s.

    The brain is like a gated community – tightly protected from bacterial invasion. It’s odd that an oral bacterium could somehow bypass that barrier. I had to deep dive this stuff in order to wrap my mind around how that might happen. One article described P. gingivalis as a master evader of the host’s immune system.

    I expect a follow-up post describing your research into which beer will most easily eliminate Porphyromonas gingivalis from our mouths.

    None of us should ever have to floss.

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