Home Medizin Studie weist darauf hin, dass das Herpes-simplex-Virus ein Risikofaktor für Demenz ist

Studie weist darauf hin, dass das Herpes-simplex-Virus ein Risikofaktor für Demenz ist

von NFI Redaktion

People who have been infected with the herpes virus at some point in their lives are twice as likely to develop dementia compared to those who have never been infected. A new study from Uppsala University confirms previous research on whether herpes could be a potential risk factor for dementia.

Researchers examined 1,000 70-year-olds from Uppsala over a 15-year period. The study, published in the Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease, found that those infected with the herpes simplex virus at some point in their lives were twice as likely to develop dementia compared to those who had never been infected. The herpes simplex virus is very common, and up to 80% of Swedish adults may be infected with it. The infection is lifelong, but symptoms can occur and disappear over different stages of life. Many people infected with the virus never experience symptoms.

What is special about this study is that the participants are roughly the same age, making the results even more reliable since age differences, which otherwise are associated with the onset of dementia, cannot distort the results.

Erika Vestin, medical student at Uppsala University

Worldwide, 55 million people are affected by dementia. Advanced age and carrying the apolipoprotein-ε4 risk gene are already known risk factors. It has been previously investigated whether the herpes simplex virus could also be a potential risk factor for dementia, and this has been confirmed in this study.

„It’s exciting that the results confirm earlier studies. There are more and more indications from research, like our findings, suggesting that the herpes simplex virus is a risk factor for dementia,“ Vestin continues.

One of the key conclusions of the study is the need to further investigate whether existing medications for the herpes simplex virus can reduce the risk of dementia and the possibility of developing new vaccines.

„The results could further advance dementia research towards early treatment of the disease with common anti-herpes virus medications or preventing the disease before it occurs,“ Vestin adds.

The study was partially funded by the Gun and Bertil Stohne Foundation, Demensfonden, the Swedish Society of Medicine, the Märta Lundqvist Foundation, the Thureus Foundation, Region Uppsala, Stiftelsen för Gamla Tjänarinnor, and the Swedish Brain Foundation.

Source:

Journal reference:

Vestin, E., et al. (2024) A Herpes Simplex Virus Infection Doubles Dementia Risk in a Contemporary Cohort of Older Adults: A Prospective Study. Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease. doi.org/10.3233/JAD-230718.

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