How poor sleep could be linked to Alzheimer's

26 January, 2019, 07:44 | Author: Denise Dawson
  • Elderly woman with a sleep disorder

The bacteria, Porphyromonas gingivalis, known as Pg, causes the gum infection chronic periodontitis, causing chronic inflammation and potential loss of teeth, reported CNN.

In the study, "Neuropsychological Deficit Profiles, Vascular Risk Factors, and Neuropathological Findings in Hispanic Older Adults with Autopsy-Confirmed Alzheimer's Disease" in the Journal of Alzheimer's Disease, autopsies of 14 Hispanic and 20 non-Hispanic persons were reviewed, all with autopsy-confirmed physiological evidence of AD.

According to Zlokovic and his researchers, as the brain and its vessels deteriorate, toxic proteins and other harmful molecules make their way into active brain tissue, damaging areas of the brain that are essential for memory. They also discovered bacterial enzymes called gingipains that destroy brain cells were present, too.

However, there was also good news. They found toxins called gingipains produced by P. gingivalis in 96% of the samples and the bacterium itself in three samples. They also demonstrate the presence of P. gingivalis DNA in post-mortem Alzheimer's brain samples (both hippocampus and cerebral cortex) and in the CSF of living patients who are believed to have the disease as well.

Previous studies have established a link between periodontal disease and Alzheimer's, Lynch said.

Scientist have found that toxic bacteria in gum disease can travel to the brain, which could raise the risk of developing Alzheimer's in later life.

"We know for sure that the blood brain barrier is contributing to the evolution of each of those diseases in different ways".

The researchers hope a drug that inhibits the spread of P. gingivalis in the brain could slow the symptoms of the neurodegenerative disorder. COR388 showed positive trends across several cognitive tests in patients suffering from AD, and Cortexyme plans to initiate a Phase 2 and 3 clinical trial of COR388 in mild to moderate AD in 2019.

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The Washington post published a report about the study by researchers at the University of Louisville (USA), during which they had identified bacteria that can cause Alzheimer's disease. They used a compound that targeted the gingipains, which likely supply nutrients to the bacteria, to successfully kill off the bacteria, reducing neurodegeneration and the formation of beta-amyloid protein.

Laboratory tests indicated that gingipain enzymes may trigger tau tangles - knots of proteins within neurons that are thought to drive the damage caused by Alzheimer's.

The bacteria also increased production of amyloid beta, a component of the amyloid plaques commonly associated with Alzheimer's.

Antibiotics also worked similarly well, but less effectively.

The Alzheimer's Association says they are supporting multiple bills this session that will help the cause. "I'm much less convinced that [it] causes Alzheimer's disease", says neurobiologist Robert Moir of the Harvard University-affiliated Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH) in Boston, whose work suggests the β-amyloid protein that forms plaques in the brains of Alzheimer's patients is a protective response to microbial invaders.

BDA scientific adviser Professor Damien Walmsley said: "This study offers a welcome reminder that oral health can't remain an optional extra in our health service".

To explore whether the bacteria were causing disease, the team swabbed the gums of healthy mice with P. gingivalis every other day for 6 weeks to establish an infection. "Findings support the critical need for additional research with minority groups".

Howard Fillit, a neuroscientist and chief science officer at the nonprofit Alzheimer's Drug Discovery Foundation in New York City, is more impressed.



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