Gum disease bacteria may be cause of Alzheimer's: study

Gum disease may lead to the development of Alzheimer's, according to a new study.

A team of scientists led by the pharmaceutical company Cortexyme found "strong evidence" of a link between Alzheimer's and Porphyromonas gingivalis, the key bacteria in gum disease, University of Louisville researcher Jan Potempa said.

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Potempa added that "more research needs to be done" to show causation, rather than simply correlation, between gum disease and Alzheimer's.

Alzheimer's is a degenerative brain disease and the most common cause of dementia.

The research team's paper revealing the link between the disease and gum's disease was published Wednesday in the scientific peer-reviewed journal Science Advances.

The research found that th bacteria associated with gum disease, Porphyromonas gingivalis, was also in 96 percent of the brains of people with Alzheimer's used in the study.

"The findings of this study offer evidence that P. gingivalis and gingipains in the brain play a central role in the pathogenesis of (Alzheimer's), providing a new conceptual framework for disease treatment," the researchers conclude in the study.

The research team also developed a drug that they hope could be used to treat Alzheimer's. The drug is currently being tested in clinical studies.