According to scientists, Alzheimer’s disease can be triggered by a virus or infection known and experienced by many people. The researchers from Tuft University and the University of Oxford, said the shingles virus can play a role in the onset of Alzheimer’s disease.
The researchers believe that the Shingles virus might activate the dormant neurological herpes virus, which causes inflammation and the accumulation of proteins, causing Alzheimer’s in the brain.
Alzheimer’s disease is thought to be caused by the development of tau protein in the brain, which leads to creation of amyloid-beta plaque that causes the disease. Dana Cairns, research associate on the study published in the Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease, said their results suggest one way to Alzhemier’s disease is caused by a VZV infection that creates inflammatory triggers, that awaken HSV in the brain.
VZV is another name for the virus that causes shingles, while HSV is a variant of the virus. Dana Cairns added that while they demonstrated a link between HSV and VZV activation, it is also possible that other inflammatory events in the brain can also awaken HSV and lead to Alzheimer’s disease.
David Kaplan, professor of Engineering at Tufts University, said they know there is a correlation between HSV and Alzheimer’s disease, and some researchers also suggested involvement of VZV, but what they do not know is the sequence of the events, that the viruses create to set Alzheimer’s disease in motion.