Phil is an Editor at LittleThings. He loves writing and the outdoors. You can often find him at the movies or the park.
Alzheimer’s disease in not only extremely tragic, but it is also extremely common.
In fact, the Alzheimer’s Association reports that “an estimated 5.3 million Americans of all ages have Alzheimer’s disease.” And that number will likely get worse before it gets better.
“By 2025… Alzheimer’s disease is estimated to reach 7.1 million — a 40 percent increase.”
Because this disease is so prevalent and those suffering from it continue to grow in number each year, scientists have been working furiously to discover what exactly may be causing Alzheimer’s in the first place.
And in the past few days, the scientific community has been in an uproar as they think they may have found a significant link between Alzheimer’s disease and the herpes virus.
This new link may send up red flags for anyone who already has the herpes virus that causes cold sores. Could everyone who gets cold sores be at a higher risk for dementia down the road?
While this link has proven controversial among some scientists, others are hoping that by discovering a connection between the virus and dementia, antiviral medicines — such as the ones often distributed in pharmacies — could be used to fight back against the disease.
Scroll through below for a look at this shocking — and potentially groundbreaking — discovery!
Like canker sores, cold sores are an extremely common occurrence for many Americans. And while they are quite the nuisance, this form of the herpes virus has certainly never been considered overly troublesome or life-threatening.
However, researchers from Cambridge, Edinburgh, Manchester, and Oxford Universities, as well as Imperial College, have just published claims in the Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease suggesting that the cold sore virus may be linked to dementia.
According to the Telegraph, Dr. James Picket of the Alzheimer’s Society said, “A large number of different microbes including viruses, bacteria, and fungi have been found in the brains of older people — but there do appear to be more of them in the brains of people who have died with Alzheimer’s disease.”
Maya Borenstein for LittleThings
It might sound complicated, but certain types of harmful plaques can exist within the brain that prevent brain neurons from communicating properly. This plaque can lead to dementia symptoms, such as serious memory loss.
According to this recent study, the Telegraph writes, “It is suggested that it is a viral or bacterial infection which triggers the plaque build-up in the first place.”
This implies that the herpes virus associated with cold sores could be triggering the onset of Alzheimer’s.
Because as many as 2/3 of the world’s population may have some form of the herpes virus, it is extremely important for these scientists to continue their work to see if the link does, in fact, exist.
Maya Borenstein for LittleThings
However, lest everyone panic, this discovery holds some potentially powerful and uplifting news.
If upon further experimentation the link is confirmed, that opens up the potential for regular antibacterial and antiviral medications to be used to battle Alzheimer’s, which is previously thought to have no known cure.
Millions of people could potentially be spared from the tragedy of dementia if this claim were to pan out.
This surprising and unexpected link might just provide hope for those who are afflicted by or worried about Alzheimer’s.
Watch the video below to see just how you can spot Alzheimer’s years before symptoms even appear.
Do you have a person in your life who has been affected by dementia? Let us know in the comments.
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