Tagged: association

I’ve got gum disease on my mind

 

Earlier this year, a San Francisco-based biotech company – called Cortexyme – published a research report that grabbed my attention.

The study presented data supporting an alternative theory of the cause of Alzheimer’s – one in which a bacteria involved in gum disease appears to be playing a leading role – and evidence that the company’s lead experimental compound COR388 could have beneficial effects in the treatment of the condition.

While the study was intriguing, what completely blew my mind was the fact that the company had already tested COR388 in a couple of Phase I clinical trials, and since then they have initiated a large Phase II/III trial.

In today’s post, we will discuss this new theory of Alzheimer’s, look at what Cortexyme are doing, and how this could relate to Parkinson’s.

 


The dashed lines show associations. Source: Slideplayer

Before we start today’s post, a word on ‘associations‘.

Please remember while reading this material that association does not equate to causation.

So if I write something like “researchers have found an association between a type of bacteria that causes gum disease and Alzheimer’s”, it does not mean that someone with either condition necessarily has the other. It only means that they have both simply appeared in the same individuals at a higher than chance rate.

All clear?

Yes.

Good.

So what is today’s post about?

A very interesting report in which researchers have found an association between a type of bacteria that causes gum disease and Alzheimer’s.

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The potential benefits of missing an appendix

 

Researchers at the Van Andel Insititute in Grand Rapids, Michigan have published a research report that has garnered a lot of media attention.

You may have heard about it. It involves Parkinson’s and the appendix.

They found – using two independent databases – that the removal of the appendix dramatically reduces one’s risk of developing Parkinson’s. In addition, they also found that the healthy (non-Parkinson’s) human appendix has an abundant supply of the misfolded version of the Parkinson’s-associated protein alpha synuclein.

In today’s post, we will look at what the appendix is, what this new research report suggests, and explain why you should not rush out to get your appendix removed just yet.

 


Appendix. Source: journalofethics

I recieved a curious email last night.

It read:

Dear Simon,
Should I have my appendix chopped out?
Kind regards,
[Name removed]

Direct and to the point. The way I like things.

Today’s post is my response to that email.

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The Parkinson’s association-‘s’

In an effort to better understand Parkinson’s, researchers have repeatedly analysed data from large epidemiological studies in order to gain insight into factors that could have a possible causal influence in the development of the condition.

This week a manuscript was made available on the preprint website BioRxiv that provided us with a large database of information about aspects of life that are associated with increased incidence of Parkinson’s. 

Some new associations have been made… and some of them are intriguing, while others are simply baffling!

In today’s post, we will have a look at what has been learnt from epidemiological research on Parkinson’s, and then discuss the new research and what it could mean for Parkinson’s. 



What are the differentiators? Source: Umweltbundesamt

What makes me different from you?

Other than my ridiculous height and the freakishly good looks, that is. What influential factors have resulted in the two of us being so different?

Yes, there is the genetics component playing a role, sure. 7,500 generations of homo sapien has resulted in a fair bit of genetic variation across the species (think red hair vs brown hair, dark skin vs light skin, tall Scandinavians vs African pygmies, etc). And then there are aspects like developmental noise and epigenetics (factors that cause modifications in gene activity rather than altering the genetic code itself).

Source: Presentationvoice

And over-riding all of this, is a bunch of other stuff that we generally refer to simply as ‘life’. Habits and routines, likes and dislikes, war and famine, etc. The products of how we interact with the environment, and how it interacts with us.

But which of all these factors plays a role in determining our ultimate outcome?

It is a fascinating question. One that absorbs a large area of medical research, particularly with regards to factors that could be influential in causing a specific chronic conditions.

What does this have to do with Parkinson’s?

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