Quote:(HealthDay)—There's growing evidence that the herpes virus responsible for cold sores also may cause Alzheimer's disease, a new research paper contends.
It's been long known that herpes simplex virus 1 (HSV1) can been found in the brains of elderly people with Alzheimer's disease, and research has shown that herpes increases Alzheimer's risk in people genetically predisposed to dementia, said researcher Ruth Itzhaki.
Newer data suggest that treating people with antiviral drugs might actually protect them from dementia, said Itzhaki, a professor of neuroscience at the University of Manchester in England.
"We found that the antiherpes antiviral drug acyclovir blocks HSV1 DNA replication, and reduces levels of beta amyloid and of P-tau caused by HSV1 infection of cell cultures," Itzhaki said. Beta amyloid plaques and tangles of tau proteins are two of the hallmarks found in the brains of Alzheimer's patients.
But the effect that herpes may have on the brain is not yet fully understood, and it's unlikely that the virus alone can explain all cases of Alzheimer's, said James Hendrix, director of global science initiatives for the Alzheimer's Association.
Hendrix noted that half of all adults carry the herpes simplex 1 virus.
Fascinating developments in understanding Alzheimer's disease, my Aunt has it and she went downhill fast.
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