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Bacteria in Brains Suggest Alzheimer’s-Gum Disease Link

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Bacteria linked to gum disease traveled to the brains of people with Alzheimer’s disease, suggesting that dental hygiene plays a role in the development of the memory-robbing illness, British researchers said.

Signs of the bacterium, known as Porphyromonas gingivalis, were found in four out of 10 samples of brain tissue from Alzheimer’s patients, while no signs of the bug were found in 10 brains from people of similar age who never developed dementia, according to the results of the study published in the Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease.

The findings support a theory that bacteria in the mouth enter the bloodstream through chewing or tooth removal and end up in other parts of the body including the brain, StJohn Crean, the lead researcher, said in a telephone interview. Over time, the chemicals produced by the bacteria could build up and contribute to the development of Alzheimer’s, according to the theory.
 
 

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