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Does this line of inquiry mesh at all with the idea that "Gum disease–causing bacteria could spur Alzheimer’s"

Or are they competing hypotheses?

reported here in January: https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=18987015






My wife‘s grandmother had all her teeth pulled and replaced with implants (probably a hint towards lifelong gum issues, and PERHAPS stirring/aggravating infections), and 2 years later developed aggressive Alzheimer’s, dying about 3 years later. She was only 64 when she died. To my knowledge, she never had any neuro or eye surgery. It’s just n=1 of course, but to me the gum disease hypothesis looks way more promising.

My relatives who had/have Alzheimer's haven't had any /reported/ gum disease [so I'm not ruling it out].

Age when teeth are pulled probably correlates well with age when Alzheimer's is first noticed.

It's like "newspapers cause cigarette addiction, people always buy cigarettes in stores where they sell newspapers" [apparent correlation; insufficient observation].


Or perhaps infection by prions by metal dental equipment.

Unlikely because only eye and neuro tissue would carry prions for contamination of equipment, right? Dental equipment should never come in contact with such tissue.

https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=18648043

There was another HN thread about the "indestructibility" of prions, and I believe there is a growing consensus that they are not removed by existing techniques within dentistry.


Aren’t gums chock full of nervous tissues?

Oh yes, you are right. I hope this whole issue will trigger some research. With these massive costs for Alzheimer's treatment coming towards them, even insurances should be interested in real advancements by now.

The upper palate has a direct line into the brain to facilitate smelling neurons. It is conceivable that a surgical operation on the upper teeth might cross contaminate patients.

Your hypothesis doesn’t make much sense to me. Why wouldn’t you assume that something about the surgery caused Alzheimer’s since that is what directly preceded its onset?

I think it's not the surgery, it's that the surgery was required due to gum disease

Right - I understand that. I'm asking why you would assume that gum disease caused Alzheimer's since it appears that CURING it directly preceded the Alzheimer's.

We had a family member have all their teeth pulled and go with dentures/implants and it seems to have triggered aggressive Alzheimers as well.

What evidence do you have to support that hypothesis?

Could be correlated if it is transmissible. Gum disease could be an access vector for prions into the nerve system and the brain.

well, Alzheimer's has been highly correlated with diabetes (which diabetes is correlated with gum disease), so its hard to tell. If I were to guess, given if there is a correlation with gum disease and Alzheimer's, I would bet my money that what ever causes gum disease also causes at least some Alzheimer's - not that being treated for gum disease causes it.

Diabetes 1 or 2?

If #2 then I'd venture to say that in many / most cases that correlates with abuse of sweets (read: sugar) which would all effect the teeth (and perhaps in turn the gums).

It's unlikely that simple. That said , I'd venture to say aggregate increase in sugar consumption correlates to increases in Alzheimer's. Yes, as do plenty of other mod cons.


My concern is that having general high amounts of inflammation in your body alone increases your risk for Alzheimer's. As someone with inflammation diseases galore (including gum disease), I hope I'm just making inferences where there's no data to support them. Anyone know if that's the case?

And related, does all of this mean that it is a good time for research into the causes of Alzheimer's because of lots of promising ideas, or a bad time, because there's no consensus?

I think some of it may be communication of "mental illness".



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