The interest of scientists to these bacteria is not random.
In the study, "Neuropsychological Deficit Profiles, Vascular Risk Factors, and Neuropathological Findings in Hispanic Older Adults with Autopsy-Confirmed Alzheimer's Disease" in the Journal of Alzheimer's Disease, autopsies of 14 Hispanic and 20 non-Hispanic persons were reviewed, all with autopsy-confirmed physiological evidence of AD.
It's possible that news of the possible link will lead to people spending more time on their dental health than they now do, though: One study found less than one third of Americans floss daily.
"We already know that amyloid and tau can accumulate in the brain for 10 to 20 years before Alzheimer's symptoms begin'" Lynch said, adding that this showed the bacteria was a cause of Alzheimer's, not a result.
The team also tested drugs in mice aimed at clearing the harmful bacteria and blocking its toxic enzymes.
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405 people across the world were part of the "dominantly inherited Alzheimer's network".
However, "we now have strong evidence connecting P. gingivalis and Alzheimer's pathogenesis, but more research needs to be done before P. gingivalis is explicitly implicated in the causation or morbidity of Alzheimer's disease".
Gingivitis causes the gums to become red, swollen, bleed easily - and, according to a new study, it might also cause Alzheimer's when it goes untreated for decades. After injections, the mice showed a decrease in brain neurodegeneration.
"I'm much less convinced that [it] causes Alzheimer's disease", Robert Moir, a neurobiologist at Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston who was not involved in the study, tells Science.
'Based on these findings, we believe that P. gingivalis is the main cause of Alzheimer's disease, and the gingipains are the main drivers of Alzheimer's pathology, ' Dominy says. In follow-up studies in mice, the researchers also found that sleeplessness speeds up the spread of toxic clumps of tau in the brain, a precursor to brain damage and dementia. In initial tests with human volunteers, a similar drug seemed safe and showed signs of improving cognition in nine participants with Alzheimer's, the company says.
This is just one of several potential breakthroughs in Alzheimer's research coming in January.
Manager of Education and Outreach at the Alzheimers Association, Mayra Ligeza, spoke to the Downers Grove Library informing an audience of more than 30 people about the malignant disease.
If this clinical trial proves successful, doctors are hopeful it will allow them to start treating patients early.
While taking care of your teeth and gums is an important part of healthy aging, Edelmayer says it's too early to say if those steps could help prevent Alzheimer's disease.
Cortexyme has completed a stage one trial testing the safety of the COR388 compound in humans.