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Vaccination Reduces Risk of Alzheimer's Disease, Parkinson's Disease and Other Neurodegenerative Disorders
Steven Lehrer 1 2, Peter H Rheinstein 3
Neurodegeneration is an increasing problem of aging. Alzheimer's Disease (AD) and Parkinson's Disease (PD) are the most frequent forms of age-related neurodegeneration. Infectious diseases, in general, confer a risk of AD. Influenza and pneumonia vaccinations reduce risk of AD. Being vaccinated against pneumonia between ages 65-75 is associated with a reduction in the risk of AD afterwards. Protection against bacterial and viral infection is beneficial to the brain since these infections may activate dormant herpes simplex type 1 (HSV-1) and herpes zoster virus (HZV). HSV-1 and HZV may interact to trigger AD. Shingles (HZV) vaccine Zostavax reduces risk of AD and PD. This finding is consistent with the link between viruses and neurodegeneration. Herpes virus-induced reactivation of embryologic pathways silenced at birth could be one of the pathologic processes in AD and PD. Once embryologic reactivation has occurred in the brain of an older person and AD or PD develops, this complex process relentlessly destroys the protective mechanism it created in utero. Unanswered question: Are the AD-risk-reducing effects of flu, pneumonia, and shingles vaccinations cumulative?