Herpes virus may play role in Alzheimer's


Initially, researchers engaged in the search for targets for treatment, but instead, they have surprisingly found that certain types of herpes affect the risk of developing Alzheimer's disease. In the course of course they can cause encephalitis and other chronic conditions.

There's likely to be a lot of different and complicated mechanisms at play in developing Alzheimer's, which is why it has been such a challenging disease for scientists to understand.

However, others were more sceptical. The study's authors pored over DNA and RNA sequencing data from 622 brains donated by people affected by Alzheimer's and 322 brains that were free of the disease.

"Previous studies of viruses and Alzheimer's have always been very indirect".

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Readhead and his team of researchers were not looking for the possible viruses but were only seeking to find networks of the brain upon which the current drugs could be repurposed to focus on potential treatments for the disease. The research gives a ray of hope for the prevention of Alzheimer's with the use of antiviral drugs.

"This is the most compelling evidence ever presented that points to a viral contribution to the cause or progression of Alzheimer's", said study co-author Dr. Sam Gandy, a professor of neurology and psychiatry and director of the Center for Cognitive Health at Mount Sinai in NY.

The theory that viruses could contribute to the development of dementia arose in the 1950s. Dr. Tanzi and his Harvard colleague Dr. Robert Moir (unrelated to this study) looked at the sticky beta-amyloid captures that invaded germs and causing the forming of plaque.

While the findings help potentially open the door for new therapies, nothing has fundamentally changed about how to treat Alzheimer's for now, said another of the authors Sam Gandy.

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Scientists have long known of an association between Alzheimer's disease and viruses, but whether that link is meaningful has been a mystery for decades. Professor Ben Readhead is the lead author of the research study.

Analyzing genetic data from hundreds of brains at brain banks, they wanted to compare the difference between people that died with Alzheimer's and the ones without Alzheimer's.

A research team, based in Waterford, claims it has identified a unique combination of nutrients that will slow the progress of Alzheimers disease. Dudley is a member of the ASU-Banner Neurodegenerative Disease Research Center.

Additional postmortem data collection was supported through funding by NIA grants P50 AG016574, R01 AG032990, U01 AG046139, R01 AG018023, U01 AG006576, U01 AG006786, R01 AG025711, R01 AG017216, R01 AG003949, R01 NS080820, Cure PSP Foundation, and support from Mayo Foundation, U24 NS072026, P30 AG19610, Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson's Research P30AG10161, R01AG15819, R01AG17917, R01AG30146, R01AG36836, U01AG32984, U01AG46152, the Illinois Department of Public Health, and the Translational Genomics Research Institute.

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