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Link between periodontitis and Alzheimer

 Recent evidence highlights that poor oral hygiene can be a risk factor for Alzheimer's disease but also opens new lines of research to develop drugs to address this dementia.

Link between periodontitis and Alzheimer

The most important risk factor for Alzheimer's disease is old age, but even 20 years before the clinical diagnosis of this pathology, underlying signs warning of its existence can already be detected.

This has motivated the interest of researchers and clinicians to find resources capable of detecting and treating Alzheimer's disease early, before the appearance of the first symptoms. Despite the fact that the disease was discovered 100 years ago, its current treatment is symptomatic, with little effect on the cognition and behavior of those who suffer it.

Blame it on inflammation


But the new evidence of the possible bacterial and inflammatory role, open new avenues of treatment that are under study. Neuroinflammation is implicated in the progression of Alzheimer's disease, so it is believed that reducing the inflammatory response could delay or prevent the occurrence of cognitive impairment.
Experimental studies have determined that the administration to a mouse of a drug that binds to the gingipains allows 'cleaning' the brain of P. gingivalis better than an antibiotic and decreases the production of β-amyloid and the neurodegeneration that it would produce.

This has led to the idea that gingipains could be a possible target for drugs that treat Alzheimer's and, in fact, experimental treatments are already being tested in humans by blocking these toxins.
But, regardless of these promising and still incipient studies, what emerges from these works is a clear recommendation: people with Alzheimer's disease must extreme their oral hygiene. In many cases, the collaboration of caregivers and/or family members is essential.

On the other hand, the importance of early diagnosis and treatment of a possible oral pathology, especially periodontal disease, should be emphasized. Moreover, if there is a direct relationship between periodontitis and cognitive loss (as the most recent studies suggest), the prevention of periodontitis, or its early treatment if this infection is already established, could offer important benefits in the treatment of Alzheimer's disease.

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