Cold sores are uniquely connected to Alzheimer’s. There are two types of herpes simplex virus (HSV), type I and type II, and type 1 is usually associated with cold sores. HSV also happens to be contagious and can be spread from person to person through close contact or by kissing. In fact, a person with HSV, doesn’t even have to have a cold sore to spread it to other people, although catching a cold sore is much more likely when the person has a blister-like sore present. Cold sores are connected to Alzheimer’s Disease because the herpes simplex virus that causes cold sores is also believed to be a major reason for the accumulation of protein plaques found in the brains of Alzheimer’s sufferers.
Researchers at the University of Manchester Institute of Science and Technology at Manchester in the United Kingdom found evidence linking the herpes simplex virus to the Alzheimer’s plaques. Ruth Itzhaki and her colleagues claim that HSV1 (HSV, type 1) infection in mice results in amyloid plaque deposits. They also maintain that HSV is present in many elderly people’s brains, and if that person has certain genetic factors, their risk for developing Alzheimer’s is greatly increased.
The UK researchers believe that HSV1 enters an elderly person’s brain when a person’s immune system declines. The virus then establishes itself as a “dormant infection,” and with repeated stress, illnesses, and immunosuppression, Alzheimer’s is eventually triggered. So, researchers will now test to see if antiviral drugs can stop the cell damage that results in Alzheimer’s, and, depending on test results, they may examine the possibility of creating a vaccine against the HSV virus, which could possibly prevent Alzheimer’s.