Answering the questions, previously included in researcher's profile of the Alzheimer Research Forum (www.alzforum.org) defines well the path we are following with respect to the pathogenesis of Alzheimer's disease and chronic or late Lyme disease. The same can be applied to our research on type 2 diabetes and other chronic inflammatory disorders.
WHAT IS THE GREATEST VOID TO DATE IN OUR KNOWLEDGE OF ALZHEIMER'S DISEASE?
The fact that pathogens may suppress, subvert or evade host defenses and establish chronic or latent infection has received little attention in the past. Increasing number of recent observations show the involvement of pathogens in various chronic inflammatory disorders, e.g. in stomach ulcer, atherosclerosis, cardio- and cerebrovascular disorders, diabetes, neurodegenerative disorders, and Alzheimer's disease. This emerging field of research needs more attention.
IF RESOURCES WERE NOT LIMITED, WHAT RESEARCH PROJECTS WOULD YOU PURSUE?
More than a century ago, Fischer, Alzheimer and their colleagues have been already discussed about the possibility, that microorganisms may play a role in senile plaque formation (Fischer, 1907; Alzheimer, 1911). It has also been known from more than a century that chronic bacterial infection can cause dementia. The spirochete Treponema pallidum, the causative agent of syphilis causes slowly progressive dementia, cortical atrophy and amyloid deposition. The local amyloid deposit, as in Alzheimer's disease, corresponds to beta-amyloid. Recent observations indeed show that bacteria play a role in the pathogenesis of Alzheimer's disease, which indicate the importance and necessity of this emerging field of research.
WHAT IS YOUR LEADING HYPOTHESIS?
Recent observations revealed the presence of various periodontal pathogen spirochetes and Borrelia burgdorferi in the brains of Alzheimer patients, indicating that these various types of spirochetes in an analogous way to Treponema pallidum can persist in the brain and cause dementia and beta amyloid deposition. This emerging field of research needs attention. Similarly to syphilitic dementia, Alzheimer’s disease might be prevented.
WHAT PIECE OF MISSING EVIDENCE WOULD HELP PROVE IT?
Analysis of the substantial amount of data available in the literature indicates a statistically significant association between spirochetes detected in the brain and Alzheimer’s disease with a high risk factor. Analysis of causality following Koch and Hill is in favor of a causal relationship. Six periodontal pathogen Treponemas and Borrelia burgdorferi were detected in the brains of Alzheimer patients. Further studies are necessary to detect and characterize all types of spirochetes and co-infecting microorganisms, which are involved in Alzheimer’s disease.
WHAT IS YOUR FALLBACK POSITION?
It is established that chronic bacterial infection can cause dementia, therefore, it is our obligation to investigate whether a causal link exists between chronic bacterial infection and Alzheimer dementia. Historic and recent observations indicate that various types of spirochetes are involved in Alzheimer’s disease and cause dementia and beta amyloid deposition. Prompt action, attention and a strong support are needed. Similarly to syphilitic dementia, Alzheimer’s disease might be prevented.