The threat is in the mouth. Scientists have discovered the causes of Alzheimer's disease

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The threat lurks in the mouth. Scientists have discovered the causes of Alzheimer's disease

Research show that the source of the disease is bacterial and hides in the gums.

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In recent years, a growing body of scientific research has confirmed that Alzheimer's is an infection. Researchers are still trying to isolate the mechanisms of this infection, but the results show that the spread of Alzheimer's disease goes far beyond what we used to think about it, writes Science Alert.

In an earlier study published in 2019, scientists suggested that Alzheimer's is bacterial and comes from a very unexpected source – gum disease. Then the study's senior author and University of Louisville microbiologist Jan Potempa and colleagues discovered the causative agent of chronic periodontitis (gum disease) in the brains of Alzheimer's patients.

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Note that this is not the first time that scientists have linked these two factors, but the researchers continued the experiments. The researchers conducted a series of experiments on mice – as a result, oral infection with the pathogen led to the colonization of the brain by bacteria. Mice also showed an increase in the production of beta-amyloid (Aβ), sticky proteins associated with Alzheimer's disease.

After the research team found strong evidence of a causal relationship in Alzheimer's disease. According to the head of the research team, Stephen Domini, they were able to find out that infectious pathogens were involved in the development and further progression of the disease.

During the research, scientists were able to identify toxic enzymes (gingipains) that are secreted by bacteria in the brain of Alzheimer's patients , which are associated with two separate markers of the disease – tau protein and a protein tag (ubiquitin).

The threat is lurking in the mouth. Scientists have discovered the causes of Alzheimer's disease

The threat lurks in the mouth. Scientists have discovered the causes of Alzheimer's disease

Curiously, periodontitis has been previously linked to Alzheimer's disease, but scientists have not had conclusive evidence as to why this happens—whether gum disease causes Alzheimer's disease or whether dementia leads to poor oral care. However, in a new study, scientists have found toxic gingipains in the brains of deceased people who were never diagnosed with Alzheimer's disease.

Researchers suggest that the discovery of low levels of gingipain in people who do not suffer from Alzheimer's disease may be conclusive evidence – it is hypothesized that these people would have developed the disease had they lived longer.

Incidentally, scientists have also developed the compound COR388, which is able to reduce the bacterial load of periodontitis brain infection, and also reduces the production of beta-amyloid and Neuroinflammation is evidenced by experiments on mice.

Researchers believe that more research will be needed to create drugs that act on toxic proteins in bacteria. However, these results already open the prospects for new approaches in the fight against Alzheimer's disease.