Alzheimer’s & Gum Disease, Revenge Of The Dentists!:
When medicine doesn’t seem to work as well as it should,
Lots of people go looking for all kinds of crazy anecdotes on the internet.
That’s where you get all the supplement-remedies, including the iffy ones.
Similarly, when trying to decipher an uncrackable illness,
Even Science ends up going down some pretty weird roads.
In the latest few rounds of Alzheimer’s research, it’s getting even weirder. Teams of doctors have been chasing down viruses,
And now Microbes as a possible cause and cure…
You Go Where The Path Leads You:
So Dementia and Alzheimer’s are baffling and terrifying diseases that seem to randomly afflict some people and not others.
Many different causes and cures have been proposed over the course of research.
Including one involving Enbrel that looked miraculous.
One of the more recent possible culprits cited is the Herpes virus.
Still more recent than that? Gum Disease, or: Gingivitis.
And the Short Answer Is: UL researchers found a very-high percentage of Alzheimer’s-afflicted patients infected with the gingivitis bacteria and its by-products in their brains.
Listen To Your Dentist:
One of the more interesting themes in health that’s come out recently,
Is that anything that’s good for your Heart is also good for your head.
Well, strangely-enough, science has known for awhile somewhat-mysteriously that people who had great gingeval-health,
Also tended to have great Heart-Health, too.
The Current Study On Alzheimer’s Vs. Gingivitis:
And in a weird study that seems to mimic that admonition of every dentist,
UL docs are finding that people who have gum-disease also seem to have problemmatic brain-disease, too.
In a very small study of 54 people,
Jan Potempa and his colleagues found 90%+ of subjects with Alzheimer’s symptoms also showed traces of gingivitis-bacteria activity in their brains.
96% had one byproduct, and 91% had another.
They also showed DNA evidence of the actual bacteria in-addition to those by-products, in the brain, saliva, and spinal fluid.
All of these concentrations were far in-excess of any normal subjects used for controls.
In a weird parallel, most people have the same bacteria in their mouths, just at much lower concentrations.
So to make sure they were on the right track, doctors then infected test-mice with the same gum-disease.
And those mice immediately started showing the telltale-signs of Alzheimer’s:
The AB-Plaques (Amyloid-Beta).
They also had much greater damage to their brain-cells.
Then to test that theory once-again, the doctors gave the animals a special drug that blocks those 2 by-products from before, (called RgbP, and Kgp)
And the brain-cell damage stopped! -BOOM!
Why Does This Happen?:
When the Herpes evidence first came out,
And again when the Gingivitis results arrived,
Doctors came up with an interesting theory:
Alzheimer’s Disease is your brain trying to protect itself from an Infection.
Those AB-plaques are not an evil by-product of the bugs,
They’re actually a defense against them!
But one that unfortunately goes too far…
But What Else Happens?:
These study results are a really good set of data.
And they are particularly-relevant, because a huge percentage of Americans have gum-disease of one type or another.
A small percentage of those have the disease so bad, that it will affect their mouth to the point of gum-damage or tooth-loss.
This may even indicate a stronger form of the bacteria that causes the problem in the first-place.
Some Doctors Think It’s Still More Complex:
And as conclusive as the study-results are, what if it’s still just a Symptom and not the cause?
Because a few doctors out there point out the Herpes results to start,
And also that people with Alzheimer’s tend to have compromised barriers around their brains compared to normal people.
So the gingivitis results may only be a part of a very-complex picture.
One where Multiple diseases and bacteria may have to be eradicated to stop the disease, not just gum-disease.
Then after that, you may even have to “fix” the compromised-barrier that let the bugs in to start-off with.
The real iron-clad proof for the Gingivitis theory of-course would be to test as many of the 5 million people in the US currently suffering with AD to see what the actual rates of infection are.
The great discoveries of this study are at-least twofold:
1) They found a strong association with a known microbe
2) One of the research bodies involved has a tested-safe drug to block its action.
So, even if taking better care of your teeth and gums,
And doing everything your dentist tells you to do that you hate will only help a little.
There may be a big addition to the future of cure with Cortexyme’s COR388 Gingivitis blocker,
Which was the substance given to test-mice that stopped the harmful effects of the bacteria and its 2 byproducts.
More Good News, Some Bad News:
By the way, it also reduced the inflammation in brain-cells and protected the ones right in the center of memory: The Hippocampus.
Of-course on the other side of that, it may also mean Science needs to find a cure for all strains of Herpes.
Because if one pathogen can affect the brain, maybe another can, too?
And even more good news?
Cortexyme is planning even more widescale-trials of COR388 this year in people suffering from mild-to-moderate Alzheimer’s,
So more postiive stories could be on the way!
By the way, Thank-God it’s been proven safe for prescription-use too, instead of being exclusive, dangerous, and experimental-only as many new drugs are.
Even though this could be a big piece of the puzzle, even the lead-researcher said much more research is needed.
As said before by other docs, what if these infections are only a symptom?
-And you have to go so far as to find out what microbe compromised the brain’s barrier in the first place?
Maybe you look down the list of ones everyone gets and see if that does it, like Chicken Pox or something?
Fixing the gum-disease bacteria might be one step, but fixing the barrier will probably have to be part of the cure, too.
Oh well either way, the gingivitis-Alzheimer’s connection Jan’s team found is nothing short of amazing, now let’s all pray the next trials go well, too…
Photo Credits: “Brunette woman smiling”, by StockSnap
• Source: LU
• More Coverage: Cortexyme Announcement | Cortexyme’s COR388 Trials Page | ClinicalTrials’ COR388 Trials Page
• Source Studies: Science Advances – Porphyromonas gingivalis in Alzheimer’s disease brains: Evidence for disease causation and treatment with small-molecule inhibitors | PlosOne – Periodontitis and Cognitive Decline in Alzheimer’s Disease