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  1. All, I found this interesting. University of Pittsburgh (yeah!) researchers have found [1] (press release) that cognition tends to decline much more rapidly in elderly folks who test positive for chronic, seemingly harmless viral infections, such as cytomegalovirus, toxoplasma gondii (the virus that makes rats love cats, and humans take risks!), and various herpes simplex viruses. The lead author said: “It’s possible that these viruses, which can linger in the body long after acute infection, are triggering some neurotoxic effects.” The smart folks over at Fight Aging! observe: A good deal of evidence from past years supports the theory that CMV accelerates immune system aging, causing the immune system to devote ever more of its limited capacity to uselessly fighting CMV rather than productively carrying out its other tasks. Our immune response is incapable of clearing CMV from the body, and the virus lingers to return in force again and again regardless of the effort devoted to battle it. Chronic infections with these three viruses is surprisingly common. T. gondii infection rates are around 22% of the general population. And between 50 and 80% of people are infected with cytomegalovirus by age 40! I wonder if chronic elevation of WBC, as a sign of chronic infection, is associated with accelerated cognitive decline... I suspect it probably is. For CRers whose WBC count remains unusually high, it might be worth getting tested for chronic viral infections, including the three listed above. --Dean ------------ [1] Alzheimer Dis Assoc Disord. 2015 Dec 24. [Epub ahead of print] Temporal Cognitive Decline Associated With Exposure to Infectious Agents in a Population-based, Aging Cohort. Nimgaonkar VL(1), Yolken RH, Wang T, Chung-Chou HC, McClain L, McDade E, Snitz BE, Ganguli M. Author information: (1)Departments of *Psychiatry ∥Medicine ¶Neurology, University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine Departments of †Human Genetics §Biostatistics #Epidemiology, Graduate School of Public Health, University of Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh, PA ‡Department of Pediatrics, Stanley Division of Neurovirology, Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, Baltimore, MD. BACKGROUND: Numerous cross-sectional studies have related exposure to neurotropic infectious agents with cognitive dysfunction in older adults, however, the temporal sequence is uncertain. METHODS: In a representative, well-characterized, population-based aging cohort, we determined whether the temporal trajectories of multiple cognitive domains are associated with exposure to cytomegalovirus (CMV), Herpes Simplex virus, type 1 (HSV-1), Herpes Simplex virus, type 2 (HSV-2), or Toxoplasma gondii (TOX). Complex attention, executive functions, memory, language, and visuospatial function were assessed annually for 5 years among consenting individuals. Study entry IgG antibody titers indexing exposure to each infectious agent were examined in relation to slopes of subsequent temporal cognitive decline using multiple linear regressions adjusted for potential confounders. RESULTS: The IgG levels for HSV-2 were significantly associated with baseline cognitive domain scores (N=1022 participants). Further, the IgG levels for HSV-2, TOX, and CMV, but not HSV-1 were significantly associated with greater temporal cognitive decline that varied by type of infection. CONCLUSIONS: Exposure to CMV, HSV-2, or TOX is associated with cognitive deterioration in older individuals, independent of general age-related variables. An increased understanding of the role of infectious agents in cognitive decline may lead to new methods for its prevention and treatment. PMID: 26710257
  2. All, There seems to be growing evidence that systemic inflammation is involved in many diseases of aging, including cardiovascular disease, diabetes and cognitive impairment / Alzheimer's disease. This new study [1] speaks to the latter. It found the rate of cognitive decline in people suffering from mild cognitive impairment or early-stage Alzheimer's disease was 6x higher in those people who also suffered from periodontal disease, likely as a result of the systemic inflammatory effects of the subjects' infected gums. So take care of those teeth and gums! --Dean ---------- [1] PLoS One. 2016 Mar 10;11(3):e0151081. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0151081. eCollection 2016. Periodontitis and Cognitive Decline in Alzheimer's Disease. Ide M(1), Harris M(2), Stevens A(3), Sussams R(2,)(3), Hopkins V(3), Culliford D(4), Fuller J(5), Ibbett P(5), Raybould R(6), Thomas R(6), Puenter U(5), Teeling J(5), Perry VH(5), Holmes C(2,)(3). Author information: (1)Dental Institute, Kings College London, Guy's Hospital, London, United Kingdom. (2)University of Southampton, Faculty of Medicine, Clinical Experimental Science, Southampton, United Kingdom. (3)Memory Assessment and Research Centre, Moorgreen Hospital, Southampton, United Kingdom. (4)University of Southampton, Faculty of Health Sciences, NIHR CLAHRC Wessex Methodological Hub, Southampton, United Kingdom. (5)University of Southampton, Faculty of Natural and Environmental Science, Centre for Biological Sciences, Southampton, United Kingdom. (6)Medical Research Council Centre for Neuropsychiatric Genetics and Genomics, Institute of Psychological Medicine and Clinical Neurosciences, Cardiff University, Cardiff, United Kingdom. Free full text: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4786266/ Periodontitis is common in the elderly and may become more common in Alzheimer's disease because of a reduced ability to take care of oral hygiene as the disease progresses. Elevated antibodies to periodontal bacteria are associated with an increased systemic pro-inflammatory state. Elsewhere raised serum pro-inflammatory cytokines have been associated with an increased rate of cognitive decline in Alzheimer's disease. We hypothesized that periodontitis would be associated with increased dementia severity and a more rapid cognitive decline in Alzheimer's disease. We aimed to determine if periodontitis in Alzheimer's disease is associated with both increased dementia severity and cognitive decline, and an increased systemic pro inflammatory state. In a six month observational cohort study 60 community dwelling participants with mild to moderate Alzheimer's Disease were cognitively assessed and a blood sample taken for systemic inflammatory markers. Dental health was assessed by a dental hygienist, blind to cognitive outcomes. All assessments were repeated at six months. The presence of periodontitis at baseline was not related to baseline cognitive state but was associated with a six fold increase in the rate of cognitive decline as assessed by the ADAS-cog over a six month follow up period. Periodontitis at baseline was associated with a relative increase in the pro-inflammatory state over the six month follow up period. Our data showed that periodontitis is associated with an increase in cognitive decline in Alzheimer's Disease, independent to baseline cognitive state, which may be mediated through effects on systemic inflammation. PMCID: PMC4786266 PMID: 26963387
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