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Swiss scientists develop new screening procedure for Alzheimer’s disease

Monday 23 March 2020

A team of researchers from the University of Fribourg has shown that the analysis of the microbial flora present in the saliva enables the early identification of patients at risk. An important breakthrough for the implementation of preventive treatments.

Researchers at the Swiss Integrative Center for Human Health (SICHH) and the University of Fribourg used olfactory and cognitive tests to identify patients with a loss of smell, a potential warning sign of Alzheimer's disease. They then analyzed the microbial flora in the subjects' saliva. This screening showed that this flora evolves strongly according to the severity of the disease. These results show that saliva, thanks to some of the biomarkers it contains, is an excellent means of diagnosis at early stages of Alzheimer's disease.

In 2019, there were more than 128,209 dementia patients in Switzerland, Alzheimer's disease being the most common form. As soon as the first symptoms appear, irreversible processes are set in motion, making medical treatment difficult and making the early detection of the disease all the more important.

The screening developed by researchers at SICHH and the University of Fribourg, which can be carried out while the disease is not yet showing any visible symptoms, makes it possible to implement treatments to reduce oral inflammation, improve personal hygiene and increase the plasticity of the brain. According to the WHO, this remains the most effective solution to prevent the progression of dementia.

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