Does the Common Cold Sore Virus Cause Alzheimer’s?
Previous trials discovered the herpes virus to be present in the DNA of patients with Alzheimer's. The latest research published in the Journal of Pathology (Dec. 2008) has taken the stand that the virus is a cause of Alzheimer’s because it often found in the protein plaques in the brain which are still believed to be the disease's main cause.
Professor Ruth Itzhaki who heads the study says that if testing verifies this scientific hunch, then drugs already used to treat cold sores, could treat Alzheimer’s and even create a preventative vaccine. In addition, drugs which treat cold sores don’t require a prescription and are cheaper.
Professor Itzhaki does not wish to make the bold claim that most people who suffer from cold sores will eventually get Alzheimer's. However, if there is a causal connection, she clarifies that it would be one of a number of factors, including genetics and environment which somehow combine to trigger the onset of dementia.
Meanwhile another study in Britain is looking into a simple, spicy treatment - curry. This new study will evaluate if curcumin, an Indian spice found in turmeric which gives curry its yellow color, has a protective effect on the parts of the brain affected by Alzheimer's disease. Curcumin, is known to be a powerful antioxidant. It also works as an anti-inflammatory agent. This spice has been used in Indian traditional medicine for thousands of years. Note: There is a low incidence of Alzheimer’s in India.
Studies throughout the years have suggested that curcumin could slow down the Alzheimer's disease process and prevent it in some people. It is always easier to prevent than to treat. The great news is that curcumin or turmeric is readily available. What we don’t know is how much needs to be consumed to treat Alzheimer’s or prevent it.
The common denominator in both British studies, the cold sore virus and curcumin, is that they are possibilities which are right under our nose, readily available and cheap. Drug companies looking for greater profit would not be interested in exploring these paths. It is up to Alzheimer’s organizations/foundations to donate money to pursue this type of research which would be easy to get underway after relatively short clinical trials. Sometimes the focus needs to be on existing medicines, herbs, vitamins, etc. already used to treat other diseases, instead of wracking our brains to invent new ones which need longer clinical trials and greater expense.
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