Experts at the NIH investigated the medical records of hundreds of thousands of people in Finland in an effort to establish an association between viral infection and Alzheimer’s disease. The findings were released in Neuron.
Among the strongest risk associations was the brain inflammatory condition known as viral encephalitis. The study also noted that pneumonia-causing flu viruses were also linked to the diagnosis of dementia, ALS, and Parkinson’s disease.
“With recent findings connecting the Epstein-Barr virus to an increased risk of multiple sclerosis and growing concerns regarding the neurological impact of the coronavirus pandemic, we examined potential links between viral exposures and neurodegenerative disease risk,” according to experts at the NIH.
“Using time series data from FinnGen for discovery and cross-sectional data from the UK Biobank for replication, we identified 45 viral exposures significantly associated with increased risk of neurodegenerative disease and replicated 22 of these associations.”
What researchers concluded: “The largest effect association was between viral encephalitis exposure and Alzheimer’s disease. Influenza with pneumonia was significantly associated with five of the six neurodegenerative diseases studied.”