Reading The dementia Alzheimer's disease could be due to an infection with bacteria. This is suspected by American researchers who transferred bacteria from the brains of Alzheimer's patients to mice. The animals then developed deposits in the brain, which also lead to dementia in humans. The scientists at the College of Osteopathic Medicine in Philadelphia report on their experiments in the journal Neurobiology of Aging (Issue 25, Vol. 4, p. 419). C. Scott Little and his colleagues had already discovered the widespread pathogen Chlamydia pneumoniae in nine out of ten brains of patients who had died from a non-inheritable form of Alzheimer's disease. Now they isolated the Chlamydia from the brains of Alzheimer's patients and infected three-month-old mice with the help of a nasal spray. A dye that lights up the genetic material made the bacteria in the brain visible. Apparently, they can survive there unmolested by the immune system of the body: Even after three months, the researchers found the pathogens. In addition, they were able to prove there deposits of proteins. The accumulation of these so-called beta-amyloids was greater and more frequent the more the infection spread in the brain.

Beta-amyloids contribute to the disease in Alzheimer's disease. An infection with Chlamydia could be a mechanism in the formation, the researchers suspect. In addition to the studies on the infected mice, the researchers also want to treat Alzheimer's patients with antibiotics, which are typically used in chlamydia infections.

Every second 85-year-old suffers from Alzheimer's. Only about two to five percent of the diseases go back to a genetic cause. Chlamydia causes a considerable proportion of cases of pneumonia and bronchitis, as well as venereal diseases. Since the bacteria can not multiply independently, they penetrate into the cells? for example, the mucous membrane of the respiratory tract? and use the factories of the cell to produce the nutrients they need to live. Since the bacteria are protected inside the host cells, antibiotics can only reach them with difficulty.

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