Alzheimer’s disease is a frustrating ailment in many ways. Researchers have struggled to find a cure or even a definite cause even as people watch their loved ones slip away. Now researchers are arguing that we’ve been ignoring a potential cause, namely sexually transmitted diseases like herpes and chlamydia.
The main issue is that we know the mechanism of what causes Alzheimer’s, but not what triggers it. Sticky plaques and misfolded proteins collect in the brain over time, damaging memory and keeping neurons from communicating, but researchers can’t figure out what’s causing the plaques in the first place. So, some are beginning to argue that it must be certain microorganisms.
Chlamydia and herpes are the most likely candidates because they’re everywhere. In 2013 alone, there were 131 million cases of chlamydia worldwide with 1 million in the U.S. alone. One in six people in America have a sexually transmitted form of herpes, and certain strains can take out Ebola. You can even find it on books.
Most people are infected and don’t realize it, but having your immune system compromised or put under severe stress might ‘awaken’ said bugs and then they go to work. It’s worth noting that even if you have these diseases, that’s no guarantee they’ll cause dementia, and Alzheimer’s is not a communicable disease.
That said, the microbial debate is still very much ongoing, and there might not be any agreement on the cause for a while. But at this rate, one could argue anything is worth trying, no matter how awkward the conversation might be.
(via The Telegraph)