An international team of -1 researchers wrote an editorial in the Journal of Alzheimer's Disease suggesting that viral and bacterial infections caused by viruses such as herpes, generate plaque build-up in the brain, the hallmark of Alzheimer's. They suggested that treating these infections with antimicrobial drugs might stop dementia. The herpes virus, Chlamydia bacteria and spirochaete bacteria were named as major triggers.
The authors pointed out that viruses and bacteria are common in the brains of older people, and while they are usually dormant, they can come to life from stress or if the immune system is compromised. It is well known that the herpes virus can damage the central nervous system. In addition they brought up that a gene mutation - APOEe- 4 also raises vulnerability to infectious disease. Viral infections in the brain are known to cause symptoms similar to Alzheimer's; the experts say the link has been ignored for too long.
Alzheimer's disease causes great emotional and physical harm to sufferers and their carers as well as having enormously damaging economic consequences, they wrote. We write to express our concern that one particular aspect of the disease has been neglected, even though treatment based on it might slow or arrest Alzheimer's disease progression. We refer to the many studies, mainly on humans, implicating specific microbes in the elderly brain.
The authors propose further research on the role of infectious agents in Alzheimer's disease development, saying that the inclusion of antimicrobial therapy in clinical trials is now justified.
They added that new findings could also have significance for future treatment of Parkinson's Disease, and other progressive neurological conditions.