Study warns that shingles may increase Alzheimer’s risk

Scientists have warned that having shingles may increase the risk of Alzheimer’s disease.

An Oxford University study found that infection can trigger a chain reaction in the brain linked to dementia.

It does this by awakening a different, usually harmless, herpes virus that has been dormant in our bodies since childhood.

This leads to a “dramatic” buildup of plaques and inflammation in the brain – two hallmarks of Alzheimer’s disease.

Chickenpox occurs when the body is first exposed to the varicella zoster virus (VZV), usually in children. Shingles is the result of a subsequent infection.

The researchers used lab-grown brain cells to create a 3-D brain to see the effect of VZV on the brain.

They found that it does not directly lead to the signature changes associated with Alzheimer’s disease.

But it reactivated HSV-1, which is better known for causing cold sores, resulting in a rapid buildup of harmful proteins.

‘It’s one or two punches from two very common and usually harmless viruses,’ said study author Dana Kearns, of Tufts University in Massachusetts.

Scientists have warned that catching shingles may increase the risk of Alzheimer’s disease by triggering a chain reaction in the brain (file photo)

But lab studies suggest that if new exposure to VZV activates dormant HSV-1, it can cause problems.

HSV-1 naturally Latent in the body and there is strong evidence that it could be linked to dementia.

The UK government admits for the first time that air pollution causes dementia

Air pollution is causing dementia rates to rise, as the UK government has acknowledged for the first time.

Toxic airborne particles from cars and fossil fuels have long been associated with rapidly increasing rates of disease in the UK and the developed world.

Now, a major independent review has confirmed the link after analyzing dozens of human studies.

The researchers concluded, “Air pollution is likely to contribute to the decline in mental ability and dementia in the elderly.”

They believe that the primary way this happens is that tiny toxic particles leak into the bloodstream after inhaling them into the lungs.

The pollutants then irritate the blood vessels and disrupt blood circulation to the brain. Over time, this can lead to vascular dementia.

It is also possible that, in rare cases, very small air pollution particles can cross the blood-brain barrier and directly damage neurons.

But the report found that this does not appear to be a significant mechanism on the level of air pollution in the UK currently.

Previous research has suggested that older adults who have high levels of the virus in their brain are at greater risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease.

Professor Ruth Itzaki, from the University of Manchester, worked with researchers from the Oxford Institute on Population Aging and Tufts University on the latest study.

The researchers recreated brain-like environments in a 6-millimeter-wide doughnut-shaped sponge made of silk protein and collagen.

They filled the sponge with stem cells that grew into neurons and were able to pass signals to each other, just as they would in the brain.

The results showed that neurons in the brain can be infected with VZV, but that this alone does not lead to plaque formation and cell death.

The virus-infected neurons were still able to function normally.

However, if cells harbor HSV-1 as well, there will be a significant increase in tau and beta-amyloid proteins, which are strongly associated with dementia.

The nerve signals also began to slow down.

Professor Itzaki said: ‘This astonishing result appears to confirm that in humans, infections such as VZV can cause an increase in inflammation in the brain, which can reactivate dormant HSV-1.

Damage to the brain from repeated infections over a lifetime will eventually lead to Alzheimer’s disease/dementia.

This means that vaccines can play a greater role than just protecting against a single disease, because they can also indirectly, by reducing infection, provide some protection against Alzheimer’s disease.

The study was published in the Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease.

Shingles can be very painful and tend to affect people more commonly as they age.

About one in five people who have chickenpox develop shingles, most of them in their 70s.

The researchers also warn that obesity, smoking, alcohol, and head trauma may also increase the risk of Alzheimer’s disease by weakening the immune system and activating dormant HSV1 in the brain.

More than 900,000 people are living with dementia in the UK today, and this is expected to rise to 1.6 million by 2040

Alzheimer’s disease is the most common type of dementia.

Current estimates are that about 5.8 million people in the United States have this disorder, most of them over the age of 65.

What is dementia? A killer disease that suffers from memories

global concern

Dementia is an umbrella term used to describe a group of progressive neurological disorders (those that affect the brain) that affect memory, thinking, and behaviour.

There are many different types of dementia, the most common being Alzheimer’s disease.

Some people may have a combination of dementias.

No matter what type is diagnosed, each person will experience dementia in their own unique way.

Dementia is a global concern, but it often appears in wealthier countries, where people are more likely to live to old age.

How many people are affected?

The Alzheimer’s Association reports that there are more than 900,000 people with dementia in the UK today. This is expected to rise to 1.6 million by 2040.

Alzheimer’s disease is the most common type of dementia, affecting between 50 and 75 percent of sufferers.

In the United States, it is estimated that there are 6 million people with Alzheimer’s disease. A similar percentage is expected to rise in the coming years.

As a person’s age increases, the risk of developing dementia increases.

Diagnosis rates are improving, but it is believed that many people with dementia remain undiagnosed.

Is there a cure?

Currently there is no cure for dementia.

But new drugs can slow its progression, and the sooner it’s caught, the more effective treatments will be.

Source: Alzheimer’s Association

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