Last week, Science Daily reported that University of Manchester researchers have discovered the cold sore virus is a major cause of the insoluble protein plaques found in the brains of those diagnosed with Alzheimer's Disease.
This discovery could lead to new medications and vaccinations for treatment and prevention of Alzheimer’s Disease. This is welcome news for seniors suffering from memory loss.
The researchers believe the herpes simplex virus is a significant factor in developing Alzheimer’s Disease and could be treated by antiviral agents such as acyclovir, which is already used to treat cold sores and other diseases caused by the herpes virus.
Alzheimer's disease causes progressive memory loss and severe cognitive impairment. It affects over 20 million seniors (average age of on-set is in the 50’s) world-wide, and these numbers rise with increasing longevity.
The underlying causes of Alzheimer’s Disease are still unknown and current treatments only assist in slowing the progression of the disease.
The research found most people with Alzheimer’s Disease are infected with the herpes simplex virus type 1 when they are younger and this virus remains in their peripheral nervous system. The virus causes cold sores in 20 to 40% of those infected with it. Evidence of a viral role in Alzheimer’s Disease would point to the use of antiviral agents to stop progression of the disease.
The team had discovered much earlier that the virus is present in brains of many elderly people and that in those people with a specific genetic factor, there is a high risk of developing Alzheimer's disease.
The findings of this research are published in the Journal of Pathology. Professional and family caregivers assisting a senior with Alzheimer's Disease should discuss the findings of this new research with their medical doctor.
senior, caregiving, AlzheimersDisease