Research suggest link between bacterial pathogen and Alzheimer’s disease – Alzheimer’s Society comment

An enzyme known to cause gum infections in humans, may also contribute to Alzheimer’s disease, according to scientists who analysed brain tissue from people with Alzheimer’s disease.

The scientists also presented results from animal studies of a drug designed to counteract these effects.

Dr James Pickett, Head of Research at Alzheimer’s Society, said:

'In research we’ve supported to uncover the key risk factors for Alzheimer’s disease, gum disease hasn’t emerged as a major cause for concern.

'This latest study found evidence of gum disease bacteria in the brains of people who died with Alzheimer’s, but also found that people who didn’t have Alzheimer’s showed some of these same signs.

The laboratory work does suggest that this infection could cause damage to cells of the brain but there isn’t yet clear evidence that it can cause this damage in people or result in Alzheimer’s. 

'Success of this new drug depends on whether the infection really does play an important role in Alzheimer’s disease – it’s important to pursue that as there hasn’t been a new drug for dementia in 15 years.

'The upcoming clinical trial will be a crucial test to see if this can be a potential treatment for Alzheimer’s.'