Saturday, February 2, 2019
Periodontal experts stress the importance of gum health in older adults and other at-risk groups
CHICAGO – JANUARY 28, 2019 – A recent study has periodontists, experts in the treatment, diagnosis, and prevention of periodontal disease, encouraging patients to maintain gum health in an effort to reduce their Alzheimer’s disease risk.
The study, published in the journal Science Advances, uncovered a potential link between P. gingivalis, the bacteria associated with periodontal disease (commonly known as gum disease) and Alzheimer’s. Researchers analyzed brain tissue, spinal fluid, and saliva from Alzheimer’s patients—both living and deceased—and found evidence ofP. gingivalis. Gingipains, the toxic enzyme secreted by P. gingivalis, were found in 96 percent of the 53 brain tissue samples examined, with higher levels detected in those with the pathology and symptoms of Alzheimer’s disease.
Additionally, researchers including co-author Mark I. Ryder DMD, Professor of Periodontology at the University of California, San Francisco, noted that the presence ofP. gingivalis increased the production of amyloid beta, a component of the amyloid plaques whose accumulation contributes to Alzheimer’s. The study confirmed via animal testing that P. gingivalis can travel from the mouth to the brain and that the related gingipains can destroy brain neurons. These findings are noteworthy in that they suggest a biological mechanism for how periodontal disease bacteria may play a role in the development and progression of Alzheimer’s.
According to Richard Kao, DDS, PhD, president of the American Academy of Periodontology (AAP), the professional society representing more than 8,000 periodontists, this study underscores the important role of gum health on overall wellness. “Periodontists have long known that a healthy mouth contributes to a healthy body, and research has suggested an association between periodontal disease and dementia conditions, such as Alzheimer’s,” Dr. Kao said. “These recent findings present strong evidence on how periodontal disease can impact the pathogenesis of Alzheimer’s disease and should highlight how crucial it is to manage periodontal disease, especially in older adults or individuals who have increased risk for dementia.”
Although the study results add to the evidence supporting a link between gum disease and Alzheimer’s, additional research is needed to better understand the etiology of Alzheimer’s and how periodontal disease bacteria can exacerbate progression. An upcoming FDA Phase II clinical trial will assess the benefits of using a novel small molecule inhibitor of these P. gingivalis gingipains in hindering the development and progression of Alzheimer’s. This clinical trial may add further insight to the link between gum disease and Alzheimer’s.
Dr. Kao encourages older adults and other at-risk individuals to maintain diligent oral care and promptly treat periodontal disease to help mitigate Alzheimer’s risk. “More than half of the U.S. population age 30 and older has some form of periodontal disease. Prevalence increases to 68 percent for those age 65 and older. Routine brushing, flossing once a day, and visiting a periodontist can help identify any disease and treat as needed, potentially diminishing the risk of developing Alzheimer’s.”
Sunday, December 2, 2018
Periodontitis May Initiate Alzheimer’s Disease
04 Oct 2018 Dentistry Today
Long-term exposure to Porphyromonas gingivalis causes inflammation and degeneration of brain neurons in mice that is similar to the effects of Alzheimer’s disease in human beings, according to the University of Illinois at Chicago (UIC). These findings suggest that periodontal disease may be an initiator of Alzheimer’s disease, researchers there report.
“Other studies have demonstrated a close association between periodontitis and cognitive impairment, but this is the first study to show that exposure to the periodontal bacteria results in the formation of senile plaques that accelerate the development of neuropathology found in Alzheimer’s patients,” said Keiko Watanabe, DDS, professor of periodontics at the UIC College of Dentistry and corresponding author of the study.
“This was a big surprise,” Watanabe said. “We did not expect that the periodontal pathogen would have this much influence on the brain or that the effects would so thoroughly resemble Alzheimer’s disease.”
To study the impact of the bacteria on brain health, the researchers established chronic periodontitis in 10 wild-type mice. Another 10 mice served as the control group. After 22 weeks of repeated oral application of the bacteria to the study group, the researchers studied the brain tissue of the mice and compared brain health.
The mice chronically exposed to the bacteria had significantly higher amounts of accumulated amyloid beta, a senile plaque found in the brain tissue of Alzheimer’s patients. The study group also had more brain inflammation and fewer intact neurons due to degeneration.
These findings were further supported by amyloid beta protein analysis and RNA analysis that showed greater expression of genes associated with inflammation and degeneration in the study group. DNA from the periodontal bacteria was also found in the brain tissue of mice in the study group, and a bacterial protein was observed inside their neurons.
“Our data not only demonstrate the movement of bacteria from the mouth to the brain, but also that chronic infection leads to neural effects similar to Alzheimer’s,” Watanabe said.
The researchers say these findings are powerful in part because they used a wild-type mouse model. Most model systems used to study Alzheimer’s rely on transgenic mice, which have been genetically altered to more strongly express genes associated with the senile plaque and enable Alzheimer’s development.
“Using a wild-type mouse model added strength to our study because these mice were not primed to develop the disease, and use of this model gives additional weight to our findings that periodontal bacteria may kickstart the development of the Alzheimer’s,” Watanabe said.
The researchers say that understanding causality and risk factors for the development of Alzheimer’s is critical to the development of treatments, particularly when it comes to sporadic or late-onset disease, which constitutes more than 95% of cases and has largely unknown causes and mechanisms. Watanabe also said the findings offer lessons for everyone.
“Oral hygiene is an important predictor of disease, including diseases that happen outside the mouth,” she said. “People can do so much more for their personal health by taking oral health seriously.”
Friday, November 9, 2018
Sunday, September 9, 2018
What are the best foods for heart health?
Published Published Wed 16 May 2018
By David Railton
Fact checked by Tim Newman
You can schedule an annual checkup, exercise daily, quit smoking, or take steps to reduce the level of stress in your life.
All of these things can have a positive effect on heart health. But, one of the simplest lifestyle changes that will benefit your heart is watching what you eat.
Nearly 6 million people are currently living with heart failure, and around half of these will die within 5 years of being diagnosed.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) warn that eating foods high in fat, cholesterol, or sodium can be very bad for the heart. So, when taking steps to minimize the risk of heart disease, diet is a good place to start.
In this article, we examine some of the best foods for ensuring that you keep a robust and healthy heart.
1. AsparagusAsparagus is a natural source of folate, which helps to prevent an amino acid called homocysteine from building up in the body. High homocysteine levels have been linked with an increased risk of heart-related conditions, such as coronary artery disease and stroke.
2. Beans, peas, chickpeas, and lentilsBeans, peas, chickpeas, and lentils — otherwise known as pulses or legumes — can all significantly reduce levels of low-density lipoprotein (LDL) or "bad cholesterol." They are also packed with fiber, protein, and antioxidant polyphenols, all of which have beneficial effects on the heart and general health.
Berries are also full of antioxidant polyphenols, which help to reduce heart disease risk. Berries are a great source of fiber, folate, iron, calcium, vitamin A, and vitamin C, and they are low in fat.Some studies suggest that regularly eating steamed broccoli can lower cholesterol levels and prevent heart disease.
5. Chia seeds and flaxseedsThese seeds are a rich plant-based source of omega-3 fatty acids, such as alpha-linolenic acid. Omega-3s have many beneficial effects, such as helping to lower levels of triglycerides, LDL, and total cholesterol. They also reduce blood pressure and minimize the buildup of fatty plaques in the arteries.
Omega-3s decrease the risk of disorders that can lead to heart attack, such as thrombosis and arrhythmias.
6. Dark chocolateDark chocolate is a rare example of a food that tastes amazing and is good for you (in moderation).
atherosclerosis, which is when plaque builds up inside the arteries, increasing risk of heart attack and stroke.
Dark chocolate seems to prevent two of the mechanisms implicated in atherosclerosis: stiffness of the arteries and white blood cell adhesion, which is when white blood cells stick to the walls of blood vessels.What is more, studies have found that increasing dark chocolate's flavanol content — which is the compound that makes it tasty and moreish — does not diminish these protective benefits.
However, it is important to bear in mind that this study — which used machine learning to assess data from the Framingham Heart Study — can only observe an association between factors, and cannot conclusively identify cause and effect.
8. Fish high in omega-3s
Fish is a strong source of heart-helping omega-3 fatty acids and protein but it is low in saturated fat. People who have heart disease, or are at risk of developing it, are often recommended to increase their intake of omega-3s by eating fish; this is because they lower the risk of abnormal heartbeats and slow the growth of plaque in the arteries.According to the American Heart Association (AHA), we should eat a 3.5-ounce serving of fatty fish — such as salmon, mackerel, herring, lake trout, sardines, or albacore tuna — at least twice per week.
9. Green teaA 2011 systematic review found that drinking green tea is associated with a small reduction in cholesterol, which, as we know, is a main contributor to heart disease and stroke. But the review could not pinpoint how much green tea someone would have to drink to receive any health benefits.
In 2014, another review studied the effects of drinking green tea on people with high blood pressure. The report concluded that green tea was associated with a reduction in blood pressure. But, the authors were unable to determine if this modest reduction could help to prevent heart disease.
Almonds, hazelnuts, peanuts, pecans, pistachios, and walnuts are all heart-healthy nut options. These nuts are full of protein, fiber, minerals, vitamins, and antioxidants. Like fish and flaxseeds, walnuts are also ripe with omega-3 fatty acids, making them a heart-healthy snack to have on the go.
11. LiverOf all the organ meats, liver is the most nutrient-dense. In particular, liver is bulging with folic acid, iron, chromium, copper, and zinc, which increase the blood's hemoglobin level and help to keep our heart healthy.
Because oatmeal is rich in soluble fiber, it may help to reduce the risk of heart disease. A 2008 review of the evidence concluded that oat-based products significantly reduce LDL and total cholesterol without any adverse effects.
13. Red wine (sort of)Many studies have noted the potential health benefits of the antioxidants in red wine. However, it is unlikely that the benefits of the antioxidants outweigh the dangers of alcohol.
Red wine contains beneficial antioxidants, but bear in mind that it should only be consumed in moderation.
The researchers behind that study are currently developing a new kind of stent that releases red wine-like antioxidants into the blood to promote healing, prevent blood clotting, and reduce inflammation during angioplasty.
It is worth noting that drinking alcohol, in general, is not healthy for your heart. In fact, it is vitally important for cardiovascular health to drink alcohol in moderation, if at all.
14. SpinachYou can help to maintain a healthy heart rhythm by regularly consuming good sources of magnesium. Spinach is one of the best sources of dietary magnesium, and consumption of Popeye's favorite food is associated with a raft of health benefits.
15. TomatoesTomatoes have lots of nutrients that might help keep our hearts healthy. The little red fruits are chock-full of fiber, potassium, vitamin C, folate, and choline, which are all good for the heart.
As well as helping to keep heart disease at bay, potassium benefits muscles and bones, and helps prevent kidney stones from forming.
Scientists have argued that increasing potassium intake while decreasing sodium intake is the most important dietary change when attempting to reduce the risk of heart disease.