Alzheimer’s disease could be caused by herpes virus, warn dementia experts

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Drugs trials have failed and it’s time to face up to the fact Alzheimer’s is probably caused by viruses and bacteria, say scientists

Cold SoreAccording to a report in the UK’s Daily Telegraph, Alzheimer’s disease could be caused by viruses like herpes.

The worldwide team of 31 senior scientists and clinicians, all renowned dementia experts, has written an editorial which suggests that microbes are the major cause of dementia.

The herpes virus – the type which causes cold sores – and chlamydia bacteria are named as the major culprits, as well as a type of corkscrew-shaped bacteria called spirochaete.

“There is incontrovertible evidence that Alzheimer’s Disease has a dormant microbial component. We can’t keep ignoring all of the evidence” says Professor Douglas Kell, Manchester University

Currently most scientists are trying to find treatments which prevent the build of sticky amyloid plaques and misfolded tau proteins in the brain which prevent neurons from communicating with each other, leading to memory loss and cognitive decline.

But in an the editorial in the Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease, it is suggested that it is a viral or bacterial infection which triggers the plaque build-up in the first place. Targeting them specifically with antimicrobial drugs could halt dementia.

Professor Douglas Kell of the University of Manchester’s School of Chemistry, said “We are saying there is incontrovertible evidence that Alzheimer’s Disease has a dormant microbial component. We can’t keep ignoring all of the evidence.”

They continue:

The herpes virus in particular is known to damage the central nervous system, and the limbic system in the brain which regulates mood and instinct and is associated with mental decline and personality changes.

They also point to the fact that a gene mutation – APOEe4 – which makes one in five people more susceptible to Alzheimer’s disease, also raises their susceptibility to infectious disease.