September 21 is World Alzheimer’s Day and the EFP marks the occasion by highlighting the growing evidence of an association between Alzheimer’s Disease and periodontitis.
“The EFP supports research into Alzheimer’s Disease and the associations with periodontitis,” said EFP secretary general Nicola West. “More research is needed, in various spheres, to determine whether there is a causal association between the two diseases.”
A recent issue of the EFP magazine Perio Insight, the state of research on the association between the diseases was set out in an article by Prof West and Dr Tanya Cerajewska, who both teach at the University of Bristol in the UK.
The article, Could periodontitis play a role in the pathogenesis of Alzheimer’s Disease?, explained that although periodontitis and Alzheimer’s disease cause totally different symptoms, there are similarities in their respective pathogenesis.
Both are chronic, inflammatory, and degenerative conditions that have familial and sporadic forms. Other factors involved include genetic, environmental and behavioural risk factors.
The article shows how recent epidemiologic studies do indicate an association between Alzheimer’s disease and periodontitis. But the authors say that further work is required to describe the nature of this association and to determine whether it is causal.
Studies in this area published recently in the EFP’s Journal of Clinical Periodontology include:
- Sung C-E, Huang R-Y, Cheng W-C, Kao T-W, Chen W-L. Association between periodontitis and cognitive impairment: Analysis of national health and nutrition examination survey (NHANES) III. Vol 46, No. 8 (August 2019), 790-798, https://doi.org/10.1111/jcpe.13155.
- Holmer J, Eriksdotter M, Schultzberg M, Pussinen PJ, Buhlin K. Association between periodontitis and risk of Alzheimer’s disease, mild cognitive impairment and subjective cognitive decline: A case-control study. Vol 45, No. 11 (November 2018), 1287-1298, https://doi.org/10.1111/jcpe.13016.
- Nilsson H, Berglund JS, Renvert S. Longitudinal evaluation of periodontitis and development of cognitive decline among older adults. Vol 45, No. 10 (October 2018), 1142-1149, https://doi.org/10.1111/jcpe.12992.
On Saturday, Prof West will give a lecture on the periodontitis-Alzheimer's Disease association at the Oral Health Research Congress congress in Madrid, organised by the International Association for Dental Research.
There are nearly 50 million people living with dementia worldwide. World Alzheimer’s Day, which takes place every year on September 21, is an international campaign to raise awareness and highlight issue faced by people affected by dementia.
It provides an opportunity for people and organisations to demonstrate how these issues can be overcome and how people can be helped to live well with dementia.
The focus this year is stigma and challenging the stereotypes and myths that surround a dementia diagnosis.