A progressive mental deterioration that can occur in middle or old age, because of generalized degeneration of the brain, refers to Alzheimer's disease. Determined to be the most common cause of premature senility. A chronic neurodegenerative disease that usually starts slowly and worsens over time. Here Debora MacKenzie, NewScientist.com, reflects on what causes Alzheimer's disease and how to stop it:
“If you bled when you brushed your teeth this morning, you might want to get that seen to. We may finally have found the long-elusive cause of Alzheimer’s disease: Porphyromonas gingivalis, the key bacteria in chronic gum disease.
Image courtesy of: Vardhman Dental Care
That’s bad, as gum disease affects around a third of all people. But the good news is that 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.
Image courtesy of: Dr Parveen Chopra
Alzheimer’s is one of the biggest mysteries in medicine. As populations have aged, dementia has skyrocketed to become the fifth biggest cause of death worldwide. Alzheimer’s constitutes some 70 per cent of these cases and yet, we don’t know what causes it.
Bacteria in the brain
Image courtesy of: NIH-NCATS
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.
Image courtesy of: National Institutes of Health (NIH)
However evidence has been growing that the function of amyloid proteins may be as a defence against bacteria, leading to a spate of recent studies looking at bacteria in Alzheimer’s, particularly those that cause gum disease, which is known to be a major risk factor for the condition.
Image courtesy of: afagen
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.”
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Read More … Article Source: https://www.newscientist.com/article/2191814-we-may-finally-know-what-causes-alzheimers-and-how-to-stop-it/
Photo By Dr Parveen Chopra
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