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The Role of Infection in Alzheimer’s

Mom harbored several different infections, from a pathogenic strain of E. coli to HSV1, to name a few.  I think what is talked about in this article is probably often overlooked.

Some quotes from the article, which is available to registered members: http://www.medscape.com/viewarticle/860615

The article is about this editorial http://content.iospress.com/articles/journal-of-alzheimers-disease/jad160152

The potentially critical role of infection in the etiology of Alzheimer’s disease is largely neglected, despite decades of robust evidence from hundreds of human studies, as well as the possible therapeutic implications, experts say.

“Despite all the supportive evidence, the topic [of linking infections to Alzheimer’s disease] is often dismissed as ‘controversial,’ ” the authors of an editorial, signed by an international group of 33 researchers and clinicians, write.

The editorial was published online March 8 in the Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease….

…”The implications are that patients could be treated with antiviral agents. These would not cure them, but might slow or even stop the progression of the disease,” she said.

The evidence points to herpes simplex virus type 1 (HSV1), Chlamydia pneumoniae, and several types of spirochetes, which make their way into the central nervous system (CNS), where they can remain in latent form indefinitely, the authors note.

The link with HSV1 is supported by as many as 100 studies. Only two studies oppose the association; both were published more than a decade ago, the authors state.

Under the prevailing theory, agents such as HSV1 undergo reactivation in the brain during aging and with the decline of the immune system, as well as when persons are under stress.

“The consequent neuronal damage ― caused by direct viral action and by virus-induced inflammation ― occurs recurrently, leading to (or acting as a cofactor for) progressive synaptic dysfunction, neuronal loss, and ultimately AD [Alzheimer’s disease],” the authors write…

…HSV infection is known to be significantly associated with the development of Alzheimer’s, and the disease is known to have a strong inflammatory component that is characteristic of infection, the authors say.

On a genetic level, research has shown that polymorphisms in the apolipoprotein E gene (APOE) that are linked to the risk for Alzheimer’s also control immune function and susceptibility to infectious disease.

In terms of evidence of a causative role of infection in Alzheimer’s disease, the authors cite studies indicating that brain infection, such as HIV or herpes virus, is linked to pathology similar to Alzheimer’s…

…”Given the failure of the 413 trials of other types of therapy for Alzheimer’s disease carried out in the period 2002-2012, antiviral/antimicrobial treatment of Alzheimer’s disease patients, notably those who are APOE ɛ4 carriers, could rectify the ‘no drug works’ impasse.

“We propose that further research on the role of infectious agents in Alzheimer’s disease causation, including prospective trials of antimicrobial therapy, is now justified.”…

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