This week I am about to go against my own advice. Recent research revealing a strong correlation between spirochetes and Alzheimer’s prompted this. I’ve maintained that oxidative stress is the direct cause of dementia symptoms and that prevention is the best strategy, rather than the focus on a cure for amyloid plaques. I still believe that, but the recent research revealed the presence of spirochetes in 90% of Alzheimer’s cases. Just as striking, they were always absent in the absence of Alzheimer’s.
So what is a spirochete? They are families of bacteria with a helical shape. Lyme disease is caused by one family of spirochetes. Cindy does not have Lyme disease, but the family of spirochetes found in 90% of dementia cases is the one responsible for periodontal disease. Other members of this spirochete family are responsible for diseases like syphilis, but that does not apply here. This makes sense, as previous research indicates a strong link between gum disease and cognitive decline. With this in mind I have arranged with our primary care provider to start a one month treatment with an antibiotic that targets spirochetes.
Frankly, I doubt this will work. Cindy historically has taken good care of her teeth and gums and I’ve continued with that the best I can. Also, the brain is an organ and oxidative stress a toxin. Like the liver organ and toxicity, I suspect there is a point of no return and Cindy has reached that. Finally, I am guarded about getting my hopes up too high. I went down that path once and ended up being devastated when hopes were dashed.
Had we all the time in the world this research would warrant no action at all. Findings need to be replicated by several other researchers, then the best course of action determined. What I am doing is a desperate shot in the dark, which makes it quite easy not to get my hopes up too high. Yet a shot in the dark at this late stage is still a shot, likely the only “shot” of any kind. Engaging in a shot in the dark is a better feeling than becoming little more than a passive observer.
Even if spirochetes are the primary causal agent of dementia, antibiotics may not be the answer for this particular infection. Bad bacteria in the gums correlate with taxing the immune system; good bacteria in the gut correlate with boosting the immune system. To paraphrase a quote about ecology: “We are not only more complicated than we know; we are more complicated than we can know.”
Fortunately, Cindy faces minimal risk from a one month treatment with antibiotics at this point. Our diet is rich with probiotics and prebiotics. I will keep a close watch to make sure such side effects as nausea or diarrhea do not cause discomfort; I will halt the treatment if that is the case. I will also keep a close watch to see if any kind of mind or body function improves.
What I am doing is not rational so much as rooted in a drive to never give up, not just with Cindy but with life in general. There have been several occasions where giving up might have been the smarter choice, but I can’t bring myself to do so. Ironically, this personality trait relates to my philosophy on journeying. There is something to be gained in the journey regardless of the ultimate destination. Thus Cindy may not be saved by antibiotics, but something might be learned from not giving up. That is my real hope at this point.