Case Western Reserve University
Dr. Alberto Costa is Professor at the Departments of Pediatrics and Psychiatry at Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine. For over two decades, Dr. Costa has been investigating the pathophysiology and potential pharmacotherapeutic approaches to Down syndrome using both preclinical and clinical strategies. He has received several national and international awards for this research. He is currently the principal investigator of a phase II clinical trial of the effects of the Alzheimer’s disease drug memantine on the cognitive abilities of adolescents and young adults with Down syndrome. He has become interested in the connection between infectious agent and Alzheimer’s disease because of the close relationship between Alzheimer’s disease and Down syndrome. Persons with Down syndrome not only develop the earliest onset form of Alzheimer’s disease, but are also more susceptible than the general population to many viral, bacterial, and fungal infections. Periodontal infections, for example, are very common in persons with this genetic disorder. Recent work associating gingivitis and amyloid beta depositions, made him particularly curious about this association. Consequently, Dr. Costa has applied and recently been awarded an IDSA Grant, titled: “Is the Amyloid-Beta Peptide a Necessary Element in Preventing the Spread of Porphyromonas Gingivalis Infection in the Brain?” In this project, he is assessing whether proteins that form amyloid plaques may actually be containing the spread of infection from P. gingivalis, which causes gum disease. He will expose mice with the protein and those without it to P. gingivalis to determine if the infection spreads more quickly or more slowly if the protein that forms amyloid plaques is not there. The results could add to the evidence that oral health plays an important role not only in general health, but also shed more light on whether reducing plaque-causing proteins below a critical level in the brain may actually also have harmful effects.
Disclosure: Nothing to disclose
Friday, October 23, 2020
5:15pm – 5:25pm EDT