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Evidence Suggest Bacterial Link To Alzheimer's

DETROIT, MI -- Aug. 10, 1998 -- Study results from Wayne State University show that the bacterium Chlamydia pneumoniae may be linked to brain samples from late-onset Alzheimer's patients.

Analyses showed that, in 17 of 19 patients, brain areas with typical Alzheimer's disease showed the presence of C. pneumoniae. The bacterium, however, was not present in unaffected brain regions of the same patients. This finding potentially could lead to new diagnostic and treatment regimens in the battle against Alzheimer's disease.

"While our results have to be confirmed by others, the findings, along with our ability to culture the organism from infected brain tissues, may suggest that infection with C. pneumoniae is a risk factor for late-onset Alzheimer's disease," the researchers write.

Alan Hudson, Ph.D., associate professor of immunology and microbiology at Wayne State School of Medicine, and colleagues from the MCP-Hahnemann School of Medicine at Allegheny University of the Health Sciences in Philadelphia and Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine in Baltimore report their findings in this month’s issue of the journal Medical Microbiology and Immunology.

Chlamydia pneumoniae is a common respiratory pathogen that is significantly present in acute respiratory infections, including pneumonia, sinusitis and bronchitis and studies have associated it with more severe and chronic pulmonary conditions including chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. Although the organism is closely related to the bacteria known as Chlamydia trachomatis which causes a sexually transmitted disease, C. pneumoniae has not been implicated in sexual transmission. It should be noted that infection with C. pneumoniae does not necessarily result in development of any non-pulmonary disease.

The researchers employed a multi-disciplinary approach to examine the possible connection between C. pneumoniae and Alzheimer's disease. That enabled the scientists to blind each other as to sample identity and characteristics in the studies. They were likewise able to independently confirm results throughdifferent experimental approaches.

Thanks to The Doctor's Guide to the Internet™ for the article


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