Is there evidence that herpes simplex virus type 1 (HSV1) is linked to Alzheimer’s disease? Canadian researchers Luc Letenneur and Karine Peres demonstrated a dramatic increase in antibodies directed against HSV1 in Alzheimer’s patients compared to age-matched individuals without the disease.
Also, professor Ruth Itzhaki from the University of Manchester explored the relationship of HSV1 to Alzheimer’s disease in her landmark article published in 2008. Entitled “Herpes Simplex Virus Type 1 in Alzheimer’s disease: The Enemy Within,” Dr. Itzhaki revealed that HSV1 infects the brains of 90% of adults. If HSV1 is the cause Alzheimer’s, that would be a necessary characteristic when compared with the very high prevalence of Alzheimer’s disease. She points out, HSV1 remains for life in the nervous system and may undergo periodic reactivation causing persistent brain inflammation. For example, HSV1 is the cause of recurrent fever blisters that occur when the virus gets activated in the brain. The most compelling evidence linking HSV1 to Alzheimer’s disease is her recent discovery that HSV1 DNA is actually located within the beta amyloid plaque - the hallmark of Alzheimer’s disease.
Dr. Itzhaki has concluded, “Our present data suggest that this virus is a major cause of amyloid plaques and hence probably a significant etiological factor in Alzheimer’s disease. They point to the usage of antiviral agents to treat the disease and possibly of vaccination to prevent it.”
Beta amyloid accumulates in the Alzheimer’s brain as a defense to rid the brain of a variety of bacteria and viruses.