ROLE OF INFECTION IN STROKE AND ALZHEIMER?S DISEASE
Treponema pallidum and Borrelia burgdorferi spirochetes, in late syphilis and late Lyme disease can cause cerebral infarct and cognitive decline (dementia) in parenchymatous neurosyphilis and Lyme neuroborreliosis.
The cognitive decline (dementia) is caused by the direct invasion of brain parenchyma by spirochetes (direct parenchymal involvement) years or decades follwoing the primary infection.
Cerebral infarcts in the meningovascular form of neurospirochetoses (Meningovascular form of neurosyphilis and Lyme neuroborreliosis) is not caused by spirochetal invasion of brain tissue. The parenchymal involvement is secondary to the occlusion of affected meningeal arteries. It may lead to"vascular" dementia.
Consequently, to exclude infection by Borrelia burgdorferi, in patients with stroke, particularly in endemic areas of Lyme disease is primordial. As T. pallidum also caused cerebral infarcts, the possibility that various other spirochetes can also cause stroke and cerebral infarcts should be also considered.
Here we describe the line of research we have followed during the last 15 years with respect to the involvement of spirochetes in Alzheimer's disease and in cerebral infarcts. This line of research represents a panel of experiments, listed below, which are linked to each other. The goal is to answer the question, whether several types of spirochetes, including Borrelia burgdorferi, various periodontal pathogen spirochetes, intestinal spirochetes etc., may be involved in Alzheimer disease and stroke.