|Published: 4 August 2011
It is established that chronic spirochetal infection can cause slowly progressive dementia, brain atrophy and amyloid deposition in late neurosyphilis. Recently it has been suggested that various types of spirochetes, in an analogous way to Treponema pallidum (syphilis), could cause dementia and may be involved in the pathogenesis of Alzheimer's disease (Alzheimer's Disease).
Here, we review all data available in the literature on the detection of spirochetes in Alzheimer's Disease and critically analyze the association and causal relationship between spirochetes and Alzheimer's Disease following established criteria of Koch and Hill.
The results show a statistically significant association between spirochetes and Alzheimer's Disease ...
When neutral techniques recognizing all types of spirochetes were used, or the highly prevalent periodontal pathogen Treponemas were analyzed, spirochetes were observed in the brain in more than 90% of Alzheimer's Disease cases.
Borrelia burgdorferi (Lyme Disease) was detected in the brain in 25.3% of Alzheimer's Disease cases analyzed and was 13 times more frequent in Alzheimer's Disease compared to controls.
Periodontal pathogen Treponemas (T. pectinovorum, T. amylovorum, T. lecithinolyticum, T. maltophilum, T. medium, T. socranskii) and Borrelia burgdorferi (Lyme Disease) were detected using species specific PCR and antibodies. Importantly, co-infection with several spirochetes occurs in Alzheimer's Disease.
The pathological and biological hallmarks of Alzheimer's Disease were reproduced in vitro. The analysis of reviewed data following Koch's and Hill's postulates shows a probable causal relationship between neurospirochetosis and Alzheimer's Disease.
Persisting inflammation and amyloid deposition initiated and sustained by chronic spirochetal infection form together with the various hypotheses suggested to play a role in the pathogenesis of Alzheimer's Disease a comprehensive entity. As suggested by Hill, once the probability of a causal relationship is established prompt action is needed.
Support and attention should be given to this field of Alzheimer's Disease research. Spirochetal infection occurs years or decades before the manifestation of dementia. As adequate antibiotic and anti-inflammatory therapies are available, as in syphilis, one might prevent and eradicate dementia.