Gum disease may be linked to Alzheimer's

NEW YORK, Aug. 5 (UPI) -- Periodontal disease may signal increased risk of cognitive dysfunction associated with Alzheimer's disease, New York University researchers found.

Study leader Dr. Angela Kamer and colleagues conducted a meta-analysis involving 20 years of data that supports a possible causal link between periodontal disease, or gum inflammation, and Alzheimer's disease, which involves brain inflammation.


"The research suggests that cognitively normal subjects with periodontal inflammation are at an increased risk of lower cognitive function compared to cognitively normal subjects with little or no periodontal inflammation," Kamer said in a statement.

Kamer's team then compared cognitive function at ages 50 and 70, using the Digit Symbol Test, a part of the standard measurement of adult IQ.

The researchers did an analysis of periodontal inflammation and cognitive function in 152 subjects in the Glistered Aging Study, involving Danish men and women over a 20-year period ending in 1984, when the subjects were all age 70.

The study found that periodontal inflammation at age 70 was strongly associated with lower Digit Symbol Test scores at age 70. Subjects with periodontal inflammation were nine times more likely to test in the lower range of the Digit Symbol Test compared to subjects with little or no periodontal inflammation.


The findings were presented at the annual meeting of the International Association for Dental Research in Barcelona, Spain.

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