Wed. Apr 24th, 2024

A new study ties repeated viral infections to an increased risk of dementia

The study was published in the journal Neuron.
To find people who had one of six neurodegenerative disorders, researchers first searched through almost 300,000 medical information in the FinnGen database.

An increased risk of neurodegenerative disorders including Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s disease has been linked to viral infection, according to National Institutes of Health (NIH) researchers. The team have discovered a link between earlier viral sickness and a higher risk of neurodegenerative disorders including Alzheimer‘s and Parkinson’s.

The central nervous system of the body, particularly the brain, is impacted by a neurodegenerative disease. Such conditions may affect how the body moves, balances, speaks, thinks, and remembers. Various neurodegenerative conditions include dementia, Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease, Huntington’s disease, multiple sclerosis (MS) etc. Currently, there is no treatment for neurodegenerative illnesses.

Establishing a connection between dementia risk & multiple viral infections:

Researchers first looked through approximately 300,000 medical records in the FinnGen, to identify individuals who had one of six neurodegenerative diseases. The list included Alzheimer’s disease, ALS, generalised dementia, multiple sclerosis, Parkinson’s disease, or vascular dementia.

Researchers looked at the more specific records to determine if any of these individuals had additionally undergone a viral infection screening at a hospital. The research team discovered 45 noteworthy connections between the diagnosis of a neurodegenerative disease and a prior viral infection. After doing a second search of the 500,000 medical records in the UK Biobank, the team reduced those connections to 22.

Researchers found that generalised dementia had the most common symptoms of the six neurodegenerative disorders they had chosen. More than six viral disorders were linked to dementia. Those who had viral encephalitis were at least 20 times more likely than those who hadn’t to be given an Alzheimer’s disease diagnosis. Additionally, the greatest variety of risks for neurological diseases were linked to severe influenza episodes.

Dr. Mike Nalls,  senior author of this study, stated that viruses may be a risk factor for neurodegenerative diseases over time. Also, more research is still needed to establish a causal link between the 2, despite the study’s findings.

By Editor

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