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Periodontal Inflammation May Be a Factor in Alzheimer’s Disease

New research from the University of Illinois at Chicago indicates periodontal conditions may be an initiating factor in Alzheimer’s disease.

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New research from the University of Illinois at Chicago indicates periodontal conditions may be an initiating factor in Alzheimer’s disease. The findings, published in PLOS One, suggest long-term exposure to periodontal pathogens causes inflammation and degeneration of brain neurons in mice. Reporting in the paper, “Chronic Oral Application of a Periodontal Pathogen Results in Brain Inflammation, Neurodegeneration and Amyloid Beta Production in Wild Type Mice,” the authors note that mice exposed to the pathogens for 22 weeks had significantly higher amounts of accumulated amyloid beta — a senile plaque found in the brain tissue of Alzheimer’s patients — than controls. They also had more brain inflammation and fewer intact neurons due to degeneration.

These findings were supported by analyses of ribonucleic acid and amyloid beta proteins that demonstrated greater expression of genes associated with inflammation and degeneration in the study group. In addition, deoxyribonucleic acid (or DNA) from periodontal bacteria was also found in the brain tissue of affected subjects.

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