Zone-triggered Alzheimer’s and chickenpox?

Varicella shingles virus may reduce risk of Alzheimer’s disease.

A new study suggests that the zone and varicella virus may activate the herpes virus and prevent Alzheimer’s disease.

Alzheimer’s disease has not revealed all its secrets and many persistent gray areas. A recent study puts forward a new hypothesis on the origins of the neurodegenerative disease which affects nearly 900,000 French people. According to researchers from Tufts University (USA) and Oxford University (UK), the virus responsible for chickenpox and shingles can activate herpes simplex (HSV-1) and justify the early stages of Alzheimer’s disease.

To reach this conclusion, the scientists created a model made of small sponges of silk protein and collagen to mimic brain tissue. A correlation between the herpes virus and the increased risk of Alzheimer’s disease has already been demonstrated. Here, they wanted to determine whether inflammations in the brain could wake up the herpes virus and reactivate Alzheimer’s disease.

“A double punch of two generally harmless viruses”

They thus observed that if neurons already harbored latent herpes virus, exposure to varicella zoster virus could lead to reactivation of the herpes virus and lead to a dramatic increase in tau and beta-amyloid proteins. . This latter phenomenon is commonly observed in Alzheimer’s patients.

“It’s a double punch of two viruses that are very common and generally harmless, but sensitive lab studies that if further exposure to varicella shingles virus awakens dormant HSV-1, they could cause more problems,” summarizes Dana Cairns, co-author of the research.

The sequence of events that viruses cause to defeat the disease, however, could be prevented by the varicella zoster virus vaccine. It would be enough to stop the cycle of viral reactivation, inflammation and neuronal damage and thus significantly reduce the risk of dementia.

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