The flu vaccine could also protect against Alzheimer’s – WWN

The flu vaccine could also protect against Alzheimer’s – WWN

Of Silvia Turin

A US study found an association between numerous vaccinations routinely prescribed to the elderly (anti-flu, against Herpes Zoster or pneumonia), and a reduced risk of developing the disease and related dementias

In addition to specific benefits, choose to get vaccinated against the flu could lead to another great benefit: reducing the risk of developing dementias likeAlzheimer’s
and related dementias.

Related studies have been ongoing for years and concern not only the flu vaccine, but also other routine vaccines (like the one against Herpes Zoster or pneumonia). The latest one conducted by the group coordinated by Paul E. Schulz, professor of neurology and director of the Center for Neurocognitive Disorders at the McGovern Medical School of UTHealth Houston, published in September on Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease: Scientists monitored the onset of Alzheimer’s in a group of people aged over 65 who had joined the routine vaccination campaign in the USA.

For example, for vaccines againstshingles the researchers compared two groups of the same number of subjects each: the first vaccinated and the second not. Among those vaccinated, after 8 years 25% less had developed Alzheimer’s.

Same type of comparison with the vaccine against tetanus/diphtheria and whooping cough: 30% less of Alzheimer’s patients and the 27% less with vaccination against pneumonia (anti-pneumococcal).

In a previous study (of August 2022) the same team had conducted the analysis on the population immunized against influenza with two groups of 935,887 people each. The results showed that an annual vaccination against influenza for three consecutive years reduced the risk of dementia by 20% in the following four to eight years, while with a vaccine given for six consecutive years the risk was reduced by up to 40%.

It is not yet clear how and why this protection and correlation is triggered cause effect between vaccines and reduced risk of dementia still needs to be proven. However, there are two hypotheses main.
The most solid one is that vaccinations prevent contracting infections that are dangerous for brain health. In fact, some types of viruses can lead to inflammation of the membranes with direct neurological involvement.

The other hypothesis holds that vaccines train the immune system to manage amyloid plaques, sites of a natural protein (beta amyloid) found in abnormally high levels in Alzheimer’s.

Beyond the hypotheses, the advice that is certainly useful is to get vaccinated: it constitutes another key factor for a healthy aging with a good diet, physical exercise, cognitive training and good sociality.

October 31, 2023 (modified October 31, 2023 | 07:26)

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