New review discusses link between herpes virus and dementia

19 October 2018

A scientist from the University of Oxford, Prof Ruth Itzhaki has linked a form of the Herpes virus (HSV1) to dementia in a written article reviewing existing research. The review is published today (19 October) in the journal, Frontiers in Aging Neuroscience.

The article reviews previous research publications and suggests that the herpes simplex virus type 1, the strain responsible for cold sores, is linked to dementia.

Dr David Reynolds, Chief Scientific Officer at Alzheimer’s Research UK, said:
“This review article discusses previous research linking the herpes viruses to Alzheimer’s disease and as such, adds no new evidence to support a link between the two.

“Research into a link between the herpes virus and Alzheimer’s is so far very limited, with only a few scientists studying the association. This review presents mainly correlative studies that do not give clear evidence of cause and effect. The evidence presented in this review is not sufficient to suggest that Alzheimer’s disease is contagious and be passed from person to person like a virus and neither does it mean that having cold sores increases your risk of getting dementia.

“A growing body of evidence is linking the immune system with Alzheimer’s disease, and it’s important to explore the role that inflammation might play in the development and progression of the disease.”