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According to University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston researchers prior vaccinations for common diseases like shingles, diphtheria, pneumonia and tetanus could potentially lower Alzheimer’s disease risk in elderly people.

Vaccination can reduces risk of Alzheimer’s disease

The study focuses on Alzheimer’s, a neurodegenerative disease affecting over six million Americans, with the numbers expected to increase due to an aging population. This research is important because it builds upon previous findings that showed a 40% reduced risk of Alzheimer’s in individuals who received a flu shot.

According to Dr. Paul Schulz, Umphrey Family Professor in Neurodegenerative Diseases and the senior author of the study they were concerned about whether the findings related influenza were exclusive to flu vaccine. The dataset revealed that various vaccines had a connection with reduced Alzheimer’s disease risk.

Schulz added that various researchers propose that the immune system may be implicated in inducing dysfunction in brain cells associated with Alzheimer’s disease. These results indicate that vaccination might exert a broader influence on the immune system, potentially decreasing the susceptibility to Alzheimer’s disease.

In a study examining older adults (aged 65 and above) without dementia, researchers investigated the impact of three vaccines (Tdap/Td for tetanus, diphtheria, and whooping cough; HZ for shingles; and pneumococcal for pneumonia and related infections) over an eight-year period. The findings revealed that Tdap/Td vaccine recipients had a 30% lower risk of Alzheimer’s, HZ vaccine recipients had a 25% reduced risk, and those who received the pneumococcal vaccine experienced a 27% decreased risk of Alzheimer’s.

Vaccines can boos immune system against AD

Dr. Schulz compared the findings to Alzheimer’s treatments, suggesting vaccines could boost the immune system against Alzheimer’s-related proteins and reduce brain inflammation, potentially slowing the disease’s progression.

Study co-author Avram Bukhbinder emphasized that while vaccines protect against some infections they may also minimize brain inflammation which is the precursor for Alzheimer’s. Vaccines could potentially modify the immune system’s reaction to toxic proteins linked to Alzheimer’s disease. This might involve improving immune cell efficiency in clearing these proteins or refining the immune response to minimize harm to healthy brain cells, as suggested by Bukbinder.