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'Herpes link in Alzheimer's'

Herpes, the virus that causes cold sores, could trigger Alzheimer’s, report the Daily Mail and The Telegraph.

Herpes, the virus that causes cold sores, could trigger Alzheimer's, report the Daily Mail and The Telegraph.

THE SOURCE: Researchers from Manchester University found that herpes, present in 80% of the adult population, produces large quantities of a toxic protein that confuses messages in the brains of Alzheimer sufferers. Lead researcher, Professor Ruth Itzhaki said the findings could lead to antiviral drugs being used to slow Alzheimer's.

Expert view: Professor Will Irving, head of virology at Nottingham university said:

‘I would say there is a need for an adequate body of research to either prove or refute these suggestions – it's very intriguing data in what is a controversial field. Just because 80% of the adult population have evidence of being at risk from the herpes virus does not mean 80% of adults are at risk of Alzheimer's disease - it's bound to be a multi-factorial disease.

So, one important line of research would be to define the at-risk group. To suggest it may lead to anti-viral drugs being used to slow the progression of Alzheimer's is clearly a provocative statement, I think it would be very interesting to know if its true and I certainly wouldn't rule it out, so further independent study is needed.'

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