Herpes May Be a Factor in Alzheimer’s Disease (And Why it Matters)

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alzheimers disease and herpes

HSV reactivation might cause structural and functional changes in the brain, which could lead to Alzheimer’s Disease (AD). – The Journal Biochemical and Biophysical Research Communications (1)

Activation of the oral herpes virus over an extended period of time might lead to Alzheimer’s Disease in the elderly. Because of this, scientists suggest that “the use of antiviral medication to prevent HSV-1 reactivation could prevent AD.” (1)

Importantly, Dr. Kobayashi and colleagues wrote that “results suggest that HSV-1 reactivation occurs from the stage of aMCI, which is prodromal to AD, and can affect AD symptoms without an intermediary stage of severe encephalitis.” (1) Dr. Kubayashi is from the Department of Virology at The Jikei University School of Medicine in Tokyo.

alzheimers and HSV-1

What Dr. Kubayashi’s results show is that the herpes virus can sometimes attack the brain without causing encephalitis (an acute inflammation of the brain), and from there cause cellular changes that lead to the development of Alzheimer’s disease.

Another study said that “Herpes simplex virus type 1 (HSV-1, or Oral Herpes) is thought to be a risk factor for AD (Alzheimer’s), based on reports that HSV-1 has been detected in senile plaques and brains of AD patients.” (1) This is especially troubling since, “HSV-1 infection is particularly widespread in the elderly, with research suggesting that over 70% of individuals aged 50 years and above are infected with HSV-1.” (Sexually Transmitted Diseases, 2004) (2)

The study strongly suggested that HSV-1 is involved in AD, which starts as subjects move from a state of being healthy to the start of aMCI (an early stage of Alzheimer’s disease). (1)

In fact, “results suggest that HSV reactivation occurs before the onset of AD, and that HSV reactivation does not immediately damage the brain and cause cognitive impairment but must be sustained for a long period in order to cause cognitive impairment.” (1)

The public should be aware of the fact that herpes could lead to Alzheimer’s disease over time.

By helping the body’s immune system target the latent herpes virus, people may also lower their risk of developing fever blisters, cold sores, genital herpes symptoms, and may also help prevent Alzheimer’s disease.


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