Sunday, December 7, 2008

Alzheimer's Disease Cure/Vaccine in Sight?

From ScienceDaily:

Cold Sore Virus Linked To Alzheimer's Disease: New Treatment, Or Even Vaccine Possible

ScienceDaily (Dec. 7, 2008) — The virus behind cold sores is a major cause of the insoluble protein plaques found in the brains of Alzheimer's disease sufferers, University of Manchester researchers have revealed.

They believe the herpes simplex virus is a significant factor in developing the debilitating disease and could be treated by antiviral agents such as acyclovir, which is already used to treat cold sores and other diseases caused by the herpes virus. Another future possibility is vaccination against the virus to prevent the development of the disease in the first place.

Alzheimer's disease (AD) is characterised by progressive memory loss and severe cognitive impairment. It affects over 20 million people world-wide, and the numbers will rise with increasing longevity. However, despite enormous investment into research on the characteristic abnormalities of AD brain - amyloid plaques and neurofibrillary tangles - the underlying causes are unknown and current treatments are ineffectual.

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