New studies add evidence to Alzheimer’s and herpes link | Science News


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New studies add evidence to a possible link between Alzheimer’s and herpesvirus

A-beta plaque buildup could be the brain’s way of protecting itself from the virus

6:00am, June 22, 2018
brain scan of cerebral atrophy

A VIRAL LINK? A brain showing cerebral atrophy, a loss of nerve cells, one of the main signs of Alzheimer’s disease.

Joel Dudley and his colleagues were searching through datasets for Alzheimer’s disease vulnerabilities to exploit in creating a treatment when they stumbled across a surprising correlation: Many of the brains they looked at had signs of herpesvirus infection. But those from people with Alzheimer’s disease had much higher levels of viral DNA than those from healthy people.

In particular, the researchers found high levels of HHV-6 and HHV-7, two strains of herpesvirus associated with a common childhood illness called roseola, the team reports online June 21 in Neuron.

“We had no intention of looking at viruses,” says Dudley, a biomedical informatics researcher at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai in New York City, who gives a talk jokingly titled, “I went looking for drugs and all I found were these stupid viruses.”

It is unclear whether the

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