Alzheimer's 'may be caused by a virus'

Herpes virus may play role in Alzheimer’s, study says

Blue Cross and the Alzheimer's Association hope the purple displays not only bring awareness to the disease, but also remind MI residents of the importance of brain health.

The researchers analysed data from three major brain banks courtesy of the National Institutes of Health's Accelerating Medicines Partnership - Alzheimer's Disease (AMP-AD) consortium, which allowed them to look at raw genomic data for large numbers of Alzheimer's patients in different cohorts.

A study published on Thursday in the journal Neuron revealed that human herpesvirus 6A (HHV-6A) and human herpesvirus 7 (HHV-7) might play a role in regulatory genetic networks that are believed to lead to the brain disease. Their results found a number of common viruses in normal aging brains, but more specifically identified increased levels of HH-6A and HH-7 in AD brains, a finding that was subsequently validated in the additional patient cohorts.

They then tried to determine whether viruses are involved in the progression to Alzheimer's or whether they are, instead, bystanders or somehow consequences of the disease; it might have been the case, for instance, that people with Alzheimer's were more susceptible to viral infections.

The quest to understand what causes Alzheimer's disease-and to treat it-is complicated by the disease's long, slow progression and the difficulty of collecting brain tissue samples.

They found that Alzheimer's biology is likely impacted by a complex group of viral and host genetic factors. NIH is the primary federal agency conducting and supporting basic, clinical, and translational medical research, and is investigating the causes, treatments, and cures for both common and rare diseases. "When we built those network models, we found that the virus/host interaction contained many known Alzheimer's genes", he said. "We didn't have a horse in this virus race whatsoever".

"When we celebrate this, because we are celebrating our caregivers, we are recognizing there is a need for research of Alzheimer's, and at the end of the day, we know we did a great thing by bringing awareness to the cause", said Sheila Hutcherson, President, Gamma Sigma Omega Chapter.

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More evidence for controversial theory that herpesviruses play role in Alzhiemer's disease [news release]. These viruses are carried by nearly everyone and are best known for causing a skin rash in toddlers, but they can also get into the brain.

Alzheimer's disease is an irreversible, progressive brain disorder that slowly destroys memory and thinking skills and, eventually, the ability to carry out simple tasks.

Since it's the longest day of the year, The Alzheimer's Association is using today to raise awareness that for those dealing with Alzheimer's, since every day can feel like the longest day because of the struggles they face. Their data analyses and subsequent studies in experimental mice found that the HHV-6A virus effectively suppressed miR-155, leading to altered levels of Aβ and amyloid plaque density in vivo. Rather, the findings show viral DNA sequences and activation of biological networks-the interrelated systems of DNA, RNA, proteins and metabolites-may interact with molecular, genetic and clinical aspects of Alzheimer's.

DUDLEY: We nearly mapped out the social network, if you will, of which genes the viruses are friends with and who they're talking to inside the brain and if the viruses are tweeting, who's tweeting back.

"We didn't set out to find what we found". And once the viruses get inside brain cells, they can just sit there quietly for decades until something causes them to wake up.

HAMILTON: But he says the evidence is good enough to merit a study looking at whether antiviral drugs can delay or prevent Alzheimer's. The researchers initially set out to comprehensively examine DNA, RNA and protein footprints in the brains of deceased Alzheimer's patients with the goal of identifying certain overactive genes in Alzheimer's sufferers that could help direct future drug research.

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