Flu and Pneumonia Vaccines Linked to Lower Alzheimer's Risk

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According to a recent study, the seasonal flu vaccine can reduce the incidence of Alzheimer's disease. A promising avenue against this most common form of dementia.

What if the flu shot and the pneumonia shot have other unexpected powers? In any case, this is what new research presented at the international conference dedicated to Alzheimer's disease suggests. "With the COVID-19 pandemic, vaccines are at the forefront of public health discussions. It is important to explore their benefits not only to protect against viral or bacterial infections, but also to improve long-term health outcomes," explained Dr. Maria Carrillo, scientific director of the Alzheimer's Association.

Therefore, based on the findings presented, at least one influenza vaccine was associated with a 17% reduction in the incidence of Alzheimer's disease. In addition, for people vaccinated more than once against the flu, the researchers saw an additional 13% reduction. "Our study suggests that regular use of a very accessible and relatively inexpensive intervention, the flu shot, can dramatically reduce the risk of Alzheimer's dementia," said Albert Amran, a fourth-year medical student at McGovern, in a statement. . Before adding: "More research is needed to explore the biological mechanism of this effect, why and how it works in the body, which is important as we explore effective preventive therapies for Alzheimer's disease."

A double vaccination without result.

Regarding the pneumonia vaccine, the researchers found that patients who received this vaccine before age 75 were 25 to 30% less likely to be diagnosed with Alzheimer's disease. The greatest reduction, up to 40%, was seen in people who were vaccinated and who did not carry a gene that increases the risk of disease. To be clear, getting a flu shot in addition to pneumonia has not further reduced your risk of developing Alzheimer's disease.

"Pneumonia vaccines before age 75 can reduce Alzheimer's risk later in life, depending on the individual genotype. These data suggest that the pneumococcal vaccine may be a promising candidate for personalized prevention of Alzheimer's disease, particularly in those who do not have certain genes at risk, "reported the study's lead author, Dr. Svetlana Ukraintseva, associate research professor in the Biodemography of Aging research unit at the Research Institute of Social Sciences at the University of Duke.

How do you explain the link between vaccination and the onset of Alzheimer's disease? Some researchers point out that the vaccine could help strengthen the immune system, thereby providing additional protection for the brain against deterioration. Furthermore, scientists believe it is also possible that a major infection, such as a severe episode of pneumonia, may accelerate the onset of dementia in people who are already at risk.

Results considered promising for the prevention of the disease in the future. "It could be as simple as taking care of your health this way, getting vaccinated, and taking care of yourself in other ways, and it all comes down to lowering the risk of the disease occurring." "Alzheimer's and other dementia disorders," said Dr. Maria Carrillo. Before concluding: "This research, while early, requires further study in large and diverse clinical trials to discover whether vaccines as a public health strategy reduce our risk of developing dementia as we age."

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