Herpes viruses, especially the Epstein Barr Virus (EBV), are linked to the decline of mental abilities that progresses to Alzheimer’s disease (AD), according to researchers from the University of Bologna, Italy. (1)
Some studies have already shown a clear association between HSV-1 (Oral Herpes) and the development of AD. (1) However, for the first time scientists have shown herpes viruses increase the risk of AD. (1)
In this study, EBV was found in the blood and brain tissue of Alzheimer’s patients.
The study authors wrote that “a high proportion of AD patients had EBV positive blood leukocytes. (1)” In addition, “brain tissues examined were positive for EBV. (1)”
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) says on its website in a page updated on May 16, 2006 that primary infection with the Epstein Barr Virus usually occurs early in life. In the United States, more than 95% of the population is infected. (2)
The bottom line?
Study findings suggest that “EBV … may be environmental risk factors for cognitive deterioration and progression to AD in elderly persons.” (1)
(1) Carbone I1, Lazzarotto T, Ianni M, Porcellini E, Forti P, Masliah E, Gabrielli L, Licastro F. “Herpes virus in Alzheimer’s disease: relation to progression of the disease.” Neurobiol Aging. 2014 Jan;35(1):122-9
(2) CDC.gov – Epstein-Barr Virus and Infectious Mononucleosis. Page last updated: January 7, 2014