Fungal Brain Infection In Alzheimer’s Disease

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Alzheimer’s disease is an all too common disease which is believed to be caused by excessive deposition of amyloid protein in the brain. Some researchers have questioned the amyloid hypothesis of Alzheimer’s Disease. Several studies have reported that drug treatment to lower brain amyloid brain deposits are not useful in preventing or reversing Alzheimer’s disease.   
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Diana Pisa et al. Different brain regions are infected with fungi in Alzheimer’s Disease. Scientific Reports 2015;5:15015/ DOI:10.1038/srep15015

Brain inflammation and immune activation may play a major role in Alzheimer’s. Infection with fungi and bacteria may also play a major role in the development of Alzheimer’s Disease. A recent study of brains found fungal growth in the brains of 11 of 11 patients who died of Alzheimer’s Disease but in 0 of 10 patients who died of a cause other than Alzheimer’s Disease (p<0.001).

Polymerase chain reaction (PCR) studies reported that fungi were present in many parts of the brains of people who died of Alzheimer’s including the: 1) frontal cortex, 2) cerebellar hemisphere, 3) entorhial cortex/ hippocampus, and 4) choroid plexus. Fungi species detected by PCR in the brains of 11 Alzheimer patients included Candida albicans, orthopsis, and tropicalis; Cladosporium; Malassezia globosa and restricta; Neosartoya hiratsuake; Phoma; Saccharomyces; and Sclerotina borealis. Other studies have suggested that fungal infection may increase risk of amyloid deposits in the blood vessels.

Confocal microscopic immunofluorescence studies have reported that fungi was frequently found in the blood vessels and capillaries of Alzheimer’s patient’s brains but not from the brains of other patients. The authors concluded that since many Alzheimer’s Disease patients have brain fungal infections, and many antifungal treatments have relatively low toxicity- antifungal treatment should be tried in Alzheimer’s Disease patients to see if it might be helpful.

 

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