MONDAY, Dec. 19, 2022 (HealthDay News) — Bacteria usually found in the oral cavity are often found in cases of brain abscess where no clear cause has been identified, according to a study published in the January issue of the Journal of Dentistry.

Holly Roy, B.M., B.Ch., from the University Hospitals Plymouth NHS Trust in the United Kingdom, and colleagues conducted a retrospective analysis using data from 87 patients admitted to a surgical unit with brain abscesses during a 16-year period. For patients where no primary source of infection was identified (NSI; 52 cases) for their brain abscess or where an infective source was identified (ISI; 35 cases), species of bacteria were categorized using microbiological data obtained from abscess sampling and peripheral culture.

The researchers found that compared with the NSI group, brain abscesses from the ISI group demonstrated a significantly lower preponderance of oral bacteria (eight versus 29). In addition, brain abscesses from the NSI group had significantly higher counts of Streptococcus anginosus compared with those from the ISI group. For both ISI and NSI, brain abscesses were most common in the frontal and parietal lobes.

“This present study demonstrates that bacteria usually found in the oral cavity, and associated with oral and dental disease, are also found in brain abscesses and make up a large proportion of bacterial subgroups in brain abscesses where no definite infective source could be identified,” the authors write. “This study is a first step in identifying potential links between the oral microbiome and brain abscesses at the time of intracranial infection.”

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