A pleasant surprise: the flu shot saves you from Alzheimer's
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A pleasant surprise: the flu shot saves you from Alzheimer's

28 July , 13:14Science
Influenza and pneumococcal vaccines have an additional and unexpected "bonus".

CNN reports, that at the international conference of the Alzheimer's Association, two reports were presented at once, the authors of which claim that vaccinations against influenza and pneumonia significantly reduce the risk of developing Alzheimer's disease.

Irina Ziganshina

There is no cure for Alzheimer's. However, as we know from research, it is possible to reduce individual risk by leading a healthy lifestyle: sleeping well, eating right, exercising regularly... Vaccinations may also fall into this category.

The first study, presented at the Alzheimer's Association conference by the University of Texas Medical Science Center at Houston, examined the impact of influenza vaccination. Researchers analyzed a large set of health data from more than 9,000 patients over the age of 60 and found that a single flu vaccination was associated with a 17% reduction in the incidence of Alzheimer's disease. Those who had been vaccinated for many years saw an additional 13% reduction in incidence.

The strongest association was among those who received their first vaccine at a younger age, for example at 60, not 70. There is concern in the medical community that inflammation, such as in a urinary tract infection, worsens the course of Alzheimer's, the study authors comment. It would be logical to expect that vaccines, as a form of inflammation, can also worsen the course of Alzheimer's disease. However, surprisingly, statistics show the opposite: influenza vaccination is the "cure" that is associated with a lower incidence of Alzheimer's.

The second report looked at the association between the risk of developing Alzheimer's disease and the pneumococcal vaccine. We analyzed data from more than 5,000 people over 65, some of whom had a variant of the TOMM40 gene, a genetic risk factor for Alzheimer's and lifelong depression. Researchers found that a pneumococcal vaccine given between the ages of 65 and 75 reduced the likelihood of Alzheimer's by 25-30%. , and for those who did not have a dangerous gene - by 40%.

The biological mechanism of this phenomenon is unclear. A possible explanation is that vaccinations help prevent viral infections that cascade the immune system and inflammatory pathways and trigger the cognitive decline associated with Alzheimer's.

However, this is just a version so far. More research is needed to understand whether flu and pneumococcal vaccines are actually Alzheimer's cures, or just one of those lifestyle interventions that affect overall health, such as sports, eating well, and tracking metrics like cholesterol and blood pressure.

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