Researchers have studied data from Asia and found some substantial links between the two conditions.
Preventing Alzheimer’s may not be as complicated as it seems. While scientists are looking into the benefits of doing daily crossword puzzles, getting enough exercise and developing memory techniques to prevent dementia from showing up, there may be other avenues. For part of the population, it could be as simple as preventing the spread of the herpes virus.
“HSV1 (a herpes virus) could account for 50% or more of Alzheimer’s disease cases,” says Professor Itzhaki, who has spent over 25 years at the University of Manchester investigating a potential link.
Itzhaki and his team studied data in Taiwan’s National Health Insurance Research Database to come up with their findings.
It was found that the risk of developing senile dementia is much greater in people who have suffered from a severe herpes infection. And when these patients take anti-herpes antiviral medication, it causes a dramatic decrease in the number who develop dementia.
It must be said the not everyone who suffers from mild cold sores is at an increased dementia risk. The link between the two illnesses applies to those who have had a severe herpes outbreak. And it’s also restricted to people who carry a specific gene- APOE-ε4- researchers said.
Is a cure on the horizon? Maybe. At the very least, these new results present the prospect of developing an effective preventive treatment for at least some individuals.