Dr Ruth Itzhaki has been working on a possible link between cold sores and the development of Alzheimer’s for a long time.
Now she is suggesting it is time to investigate the use of antivirals in mid-life, with the view of preventing Alzheimer’s later on.
She says “We discovered in 1991 that in many elderly people HSV1 is also present in the brain. And in 1997 we showed that it confers a strong risk of Alzheimer’s disease when present in the brain of people who have a specific gene known as Apoe-e4.”
She adds ”The likelihood of developing Alzheimer’s disease is 12 times greater for Apoe-e4 carriers who have HSV1 in the brain than for those with neither factor.”
This is why we don’t see Alzheimer’s developing in the all of the 67% of the population who carry herpes simplex type 1 virus.
For cold sores to be a problem, the person has to also have the unusual gene. Wikipedia tells us that only 14% of the population has the Apoe-e4 variant.
Dr Itzhaki suggests that “It’s time to investigate the use of antivirals [aciclovir or other] in mid-life with the view of preventing Alzheimer’s later on.”
More research will be needed to see how effective aciclovir is in preventing the development of Alzheimer’s in people with type 1. It is such an easy treatment, if it works this will be most welcome!
And this research is totally irrelevant to people with genital infection.
Now, more research being done in US on cold sores and Alzheimer’s disease.
In 2023, at last, a clinical trial called VALAD is underway to test whether valaciclovir can halt the progression of mild Alzheimer’s in people with mild Alzheimer’s who also have herpes simplex. Valaciclovir is one of the three antiviral drugs that are used to prevent the virus from replicating in the body.
It is only for 78 weeks, but the researchers hope that this will be long enough to compare difference between treatment with valaciclovir and placebo (dummy pills).