Scientists call for more research into the role of microbes in Alzheimer’s disease

Published 9 March 2016

An editorial in the Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease brings together evidence linking microbes - a virus and two kinds of bacteria - to the development of Alzheimer’s disease.

The authors are calling for more research into this area, including clinical trials of antimicrobial drugs as potential Alzheimer’s treatments.

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

'A large number of different microbes including viruses, bacteria and fungi have been found in the brains of older people - but there do appear to be more of them in the brains of people who have died with Alzheimer’s disease. While these observations are interesting and warrant further research, there is currently insufficient evidence to tell us that microbes are responsible for causing Alzheimer’s disease in the vast majority of cases. We would like to reassure people that there remains no convincing evidence that Alzheimer’s disease is contagious or can be passed from person to person like a virus.

'Given the enormous global impact of dementia, there is intense interest from the research community to understand all the potential contributing factors. We welcome research that explores all possible avenues and have committed £100 million over the next decade to more fully understand the causes of dementia and to improve diagnosis, treatment and prevention of the condition.'

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