Alzheimer’s disease could be caused by viruses like herpes, a group of renowned dementia experts have warned, as they call for urgent investigation into the link.
The worldwide team of 31 senior scientists and clinicians, which include specialists from Oxford, Cambridge, Edinburgh and Manchester Universities and Imperial College, have written an editorial which suggests that microbes are the major cause of dementia.
The herpes virus – the type which causes cold sores – and chlamydia bacteria are named as the major culprits, as well as a type of corkscrew-shaped bacteria called spirochaete.
Currently most scientists are trying to find treatments which prevent the build of sticky amyloid plaques and misfolded tau proteins in the brain which prevent neurons from communicating with each other, leading to memory loss and cognitive decline.
But in an the editorial in the Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease, it is suggested that it is a viral or bacterial infection which triggers the plaque build-up in the first place. Targeting them specifically with antimicrobial drugs could halt dementia.