Periodontal disease's contribution to Alzheimer's disease progression in Down syndrome
People with Down syndrome (DS) are at an increased risk for Alzheimer's disease (AD). After 60 years of age, >50% of DS subjects acquire dementia. Nevertheless, the age of onset is highly variable possibly because of both genetic and environmental factors. Genetics cannot be modified, but environmental risk factors present a potentially relevant intervention for DS persons at risk for AD. Among them, inflammation, important in AD of DS type, is potential target. Consistent with this hypothesis, chronic peripheral inflammation and infections may contribute to AD pathogenesis in DS. People with DS have an aggressive form of periodontitis characterized by rapid progression, significant bacterial and inflammatory burden, and an onset as early as 6 years of age. This review offers a hypothetical mechanistic link between periodontitis and AD in the DS population. Because periodontitis is a treatable condition, it may be a readily modifiable risk factor for AD.