Scientists hypothesize that Herpes Simplex 1 spreads to the brain in elderly individuals with weakened immune systems, increases the risk for cognitive malfunctions, and thus affects the progression of Alzheimer’s disease. Professor Hugo Lövheim, associate professor in the department of Geriatric Medicine at the Umea University in Sweden, and Fredrik Elgh, professor at the Department of Virology, conducted an epidemiological study in which they followed 3432 participants for a course of 12 years to find that individuals with a reactivated herpes infection were twice as likely to develop Alzheimer’s disease as individuals without. The study doesn’t prove causation only correlation.
Dr. Jagan Pillai, neurologist at the Cleveland clinic, indicated that it might not be Herpes that exacerbates Alzheirmer’s but the other way around. Alzheimer’s disease could be inducing immune changes that exacerbate the effects of the Herpes virus infection.
This news is alarming because of the prevalence of Herpes simplex virus in the general population, with 90% of adults carrying herpes simplex type 1. Herpes Simplex Virus is interesting in that after it infects an individual, it remains in the body and occasionally causes mouth ulcers. Thus individuals might not be aware that they are carrying the virus.
The study is relevant clinically because if Herpes does play a role in causing or worsening the conditions of Alzheimer’s disease, then Alzhemer’s patients could be treated with antiviral drugs.
URGENT: Someone needs to tell Paris Hilton about this study!
Herpes Simplex 1 Virophile
By Mariam Kyarunts