Published: Sun, January 27, 2019
Medicine | By Daryl Nelson

Memory loss caused by Alzheimers can be restored

Memory loss caused by Alzheimers can be restored

In a new study out Wednesday, scientists reveal yet another reason to keep up on dental hygiene.

Singhrao, who has also conducted research into the cause of Alzheimer's, had earlier discovered that the bacteria invade the brains of mice which had gum infections. The discovery also offers hope for a treatment that could slow neurodegeneration.

Sarah Marzi, a postdoctoral researcher at Queen Mary University of London, said that the researchers "most promisingly" show changes of NfL predicting cognitive test results and thinning of the cortex, "two main symptoms of Alzheimer's Disease".

Symptoms of Alzheimer's disease, like memory loss, confusion, personality changes and agitation, can show up as many as 10 years (or more) after the disease actually starts.

A poor night's kip has always been linked with Alzheimer's, which affects more than 500,000 people in Britain and 5.7 million Americans. But there's still no cure. Together, researchers have been working with the rare families who carry the inherited Alzheimer's disease genes to identify the biomarkers for potential predictive testing in the future.

"When science converges from multiple independent laboratories like this, it is very compelling", says Casey Lynch of Cortexyme, a pharmaceutical firm in San Francisco, California.

The charity Alzheimer's Society, responding to this study, said the research it had been involved in had not found gum disease to be a key risk factor for Alzheimer's. Speech, in particular, is about the bacteria that live in the mouth and cause inflammation of the gums - periodontitis.

They also ran an experiment where cultured cells grown in the laboratory were infected with P. gingivalis to see what effect that had on tau protein, a protein that forms tangles in the brains of people with Alzheimer's disease. They went on to find that a newly developed drug could clear the bacterial infection and seemed to stop brain deterioration.

"Our identification of gingipain antigens in the brains of individuals with AD and also with AD pathology but no diagnosis of dementia argues that brain infection with P. gingivalis is not a result of poor dental care following the onset of dementia or a outcome of late-stage disease, but is an early event that can explain the pathology found in middle-aged individuals before cognitive decline", the authors write in their paper.

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When the research team injected Pg inyo mice, an increase of amyloid beta - the plaque associated with Alzheimer's disease - was seen.

The scientists then designed and created a new molecule that blocks the gingipain enzymes.

The study, published in the journal Science, indicates that lack of sleep alone helps drive the disease, and suggested a good night's sleep may help preserve brain health. The new drug is now being tested on people in clinical trials.

Researchers looked at brain tissue from autopsies of individuals with and without Alzheimer's disease and found a majority of those with the disease had higher levels of an enzyme called gingipains, which is produced by P. gingivalis.

P. gingivalis infection was thought to fuel high levels of beta- amyloid that eventually became toxic.

"Infectious agents have been implicated in the development and progression of Alzheimer's disease before", Dominy said in a statement.

In recent years, a growing number of scientific studies have backed an alarming hypothesis: Alzheimer's disease isn't just a disease, it's an infection.

The researchers say they have also begun "new drug application-enabling studies" with the gingipain-inhibiting substance tested here.

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