Helicobacter pylori Infection and Risk for Developing Dementia

Forest plot presents the association between Helicobacter pylori infection and the risk of Alzheimer’s disease in case-control study. Courtesy of Hao Li

A new study indicates that infection with multiple pathogens may play a key role in the pathogenesis of dementia.

Whether Helicobacter pylori infection is associated causally with dementia is controversial. The authors conduct a meta-analysis of case-control and cohort studies on the association between H. pylori infection and the risk for all-cause and Alzheimer’s disease dementia. There was no association between H.

Dr. Hao Li from The China Academy of Chinese Medical Sciences said, "Dementia is a serious social and medical problem that affects the health of people older than 65 years worldwide."

The most common types of dementia were Alzheimer’s disease and vascular dementia, accounting for 60%-70% and 30%, respectively. Currently, there are more than 50 million people with dementia worldwide, and this number will increase to 152 million by 2050. In addition, infections, diabetes, hypertension, and stroke can also contribute to the occurrence of dementia.

Emerging data have demonstrated that infection with several important pathogens may be a hazard factor for cognitive impairment, dementia, and AD in particular. Chronic H. pylori infection is a direct inducement of chronic gastritis, peptic ulcers, and gastric cancer. Interestingly, H. pylori has also been identified as a risk factor for non-gastrointestinal diseases, such as neurodegenerative diseases, including all-cause and AD dementia.

Previous evidence suggests H. pylori infection as a driver of cognitive decline. The potential link between H. pylori infection and dementia have been investigated by several population-based case-control and cohort studies, but the results were inconsistent.

The Li Research Team concluded in their Aging-US Research Output study, "this systematic review and meta-analysis suggest that H. pylori infection may be associated with an increased risk of all-cause dementia, but not AD dementia. Future research on the pathogenic mechanism between the two diseases may lead to the development of novel therapies. The clinical implications lie in maintaining vigilance against dementia in elderly patients infected with H. pylori, and early detection and timely medical treatment for H. pylori patients through a multidisciplinary approach."

Source: Aging-US