Influenza and pneumonia vaccination reduces the risk of Alzheimer's disease

Regular flu and pneumonia vaccination can be used not only as an effective measure against infections but also as effective prevention of Alzheimer's disease. This was demonstrated by three studies conducted by American and Danish scientists. The results were presented at the Association's annual Alzheimer's Disease Research Conference (AAIC 2020).

In the first study, scientists from the University of Texas (USA) studied data concerning over nine thousand elderly Americans. The analysis showed that single flu vaccination reduces the risk of disease by 17% and a regular flu vaccination by another 13%. The earlier patients started vaccinating, the less likely they were to develop neurodegenerative disease: for instance, those who started vaccinating after 60 years of age had a much lower risk than those who vaccinated for the first time after 70 years of age.

The second study was conducted by specialists from Duke University (USA). They were interested in the link between the vaccine for bacterial pneumonia and the risk of Alzheimer's disease. A study of more than five thousand people over 65 showed that a single vaccination between 65 and 75 years of age reduced the likelihood of neurodegenerative disease by 25-30%. This effect was stronger in people with a genetic predisposition to disease (in mutation carriers in the TOMM40 gene). The more often older people were vaccinated, the lower was the risk of Alzheimer's disease.

A third study conducted by scientists from the University of Copenhagen, Denmark, showed that infections significantly increased the risk of death among Alzheimer's patients (data on 1.5 million Danes over 65 were studied). The number of deaths in patients simultaneously with neurodegeneration and infections was found to be 6.5 times higher than in elderly patients without Alzheimer's disease.

It is still unclear to researchers what the biological mechanism behind this dependence is. However, they believe that this will not prevent flu and pneumonia vaccination from being used as an effective prophylactic agent against Alzheimer's disease.

July 29, 2020, 10:48 a.m.

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