Alzheimer's link to cold sore bug
A discovery that could see some simple anti-viral drugs being used to help prevent Alzheimer's disease has been found.
The virus that causes cold sores has been found in plaques in the brains of people suffering with the Alzheimer's and although no direct causality has been found between getting cold sores and Alzheimer's the prospect of using anti-viral drugs to prevent the disease is a real prospect.
Scientists have discovered a link between the virus that causes cold sores and brain changes that occur with Alzheimer's disease. It is too early to say whether the virus causes the disease, but the researchers say it raises the possibility that standard anti-viral drugs could in future be used to treat the disease or prevent it from occurring.
The researchers have found that herpes simplex virus type 1 is found within so-called amyloid plaques in the brains of people who died of Alzheimer's, suggesting that it may have a role in causing the damage. According to the NHS, Alzheimer's is the most common form of dementia. It affects about 450,000 people. In over-65s, about one in 20 people are affected, rising to one in five over 80.