We may finally know what causes Alzheimer’s – and how to stop it

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.

…The disease often involves the accumulation of proteins called amyloid and tau in the brain, and the leading hypothesis has been that the disease arises from defective control of these two proteins.

But research in recent years has revealed that people can have amyloid plaques without having dementia. So many efforts to treat Alzheimer’s by moderating these proteins have failed that the hypothesis has been seriously questioned.

…Bacteria involved in gum disease and other illnesses have been found after death in the brains of people who had Alzheimer’s, but until now, it hasn’t been clear whether these bacteria caused the disease or simply got in via brain damage caused by the condition.

…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.

…The bacteria and its enzymes were found at higher levels in those who had experienced worse cognitive decline, and had more amyloid and tau accumulations. The team also found the bacteria in the spinal fluid of living people with Alzheimer’s, suggesting that this technique may provide a long-sought after method of diagnosing the disease.

We may finally know what causes Alzheimer’s – and how to stop it | New Scientist

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