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Alzheimer's research sheds light on potential treatments for urinary tract infections

Research into Alzheimer's disease seems an unlikely approach to yield a better way to fight urinary tract infections (UTIs), but that's what scientists at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis and elsewhere recently reported.

One element links the disparate areas of research: amyloids, which are fibrous, sticky protein aggregates. Some infectious bacteria use amyloids to attach to host cells and to build biofilms, which are bacterial communities bound together in a film that helps resist antibiotics and immune attacks. Amyloids also form in the nervous system in Alzheimer's disease, Parkinson's disease and many other neurodegenerative disorders.

To probe amyloids' contributions to neurodegenerative diseases, scientists altered potential UTI-fighting compounds originally selected for their ability to block bacteria's ability to make amyloids and form biofilms. But when they brought the compounds back to UTI research after the neurology studies, they found the changes had also unexpectedly made them more effective UTI treatments.

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