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Helicobacter pylori (H. pylori), a prevalent bacterial infection causing stomach issues worldwide, is found to potentially elevate the risk of Alzheimer’s disease by more than 10% in older adults, according to McGill University researchers.

Gastritis causing bacteria linked to dementia

The research team explored the connection between H. pylori, a common stomach bacterium known for causing infections, indigestion, gastritis, ulcers, and potential links to stomach cancer. The focus of their study was to investigate the impact of this prevalent stomach bug on the brain.

Scientists examined health information from over four million individuals in the UK who were aged 50 and above during the period from 1988 to 2019. Individuals manifesting signs indicative of an H. pylori infection exhibited an elevated 11% likelihood of experiencing the onset of Alzheimer’s, which is the prevailing type of dementia globally.

The authors of the research express optimism regarding the potential positivity of their findings, anticipating the emergence of novel methods for Alzheimer’s prevention. Despite recent approvals for new treatments, a conclusive cure for the ailment remains elusive. The latest investigation suggests that the next phase of research may originate in the gastrointestinal tract rather than the brain.

As the world’s population ages, the incidence of dementia is projected to triple over the next four decades. Dr. Paul Brassard, the senior author of the study and a Professor in McGill’s Department of Medicine, emphasizes the scarcity of viable treatments for this condition.

H. pyroli linked to increased risk of dementia

Dr. Brassard, a public health and preventive medicine physician at the McGill University Health Center, anticipates that the results of this study will offer valuable information on the potential involvement of H. pylori in dementia. This insight aims to guide the creation of preventive measures, including personalized eradication initiatives, to mitigate infections on a broader scale.

The research findings have been featured in Alzheimer’s & Dementia: The Journal of the Alzheimer’s Association. By understanding the potential link between H. pylori and dementia, this research strives to contribute to the development of targeted interventions, enhancing our ability to mitigate the impact of infections on a population level.