- Published on Thursday, 10 February 2011 21:29
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A study has found that people with poor oral hygiene or gum disease could be at higher risk of developing Alzheimer's compared with those who have healthy teeth.
Researchers from the University of Central Lancashire (UCLan) in the UK, discovered the presence of a bacterium called Porphyromonas gingivalis in the brains of patients who had dementia when they were alive. The bug is usually associated with chronic periodontal (gum) disease.
For the study, published in the Journal of Alzheimer's Disease, 10 brain samples from patients with dementia were donated for analysis by a scheme called Brains for Dementia Research, alongside 10 brain samples from people who had not had the disease.
Examination of the samples revealed the presence of the Porphyromonas gingivalis in the samples of the brains affected by Alzheimer's.This bacteria is usually found in oral cavities, and enters the blood stream through a variety of daily activities, such as chewing, eating and brushing teeth. However, it is more likely to enter the blood stream after invasive dental treatment, where it is possible that the bacteria can enter the brain regularly, the researchers say.
Each time the bacteria enter the brain, the researchers note, this could potentially trigger immune system responses, causing the release of excess chemicals that can kill neurons.
The researchers say that this activity could lead to symptoms such as confusion and deteriorating memory - typical symptoms of Alzheimer's disease.
Fuente: Medical News Today