Herpes Linked to Alzheimer's
Here's something to think about before sucking face with Mr. Right Now: it may cause you to have trouble remembering the actual Mr. Right.
A recent study has revealed a link between herpes simplex virus type 1 (HSV1)--the type of herpes that causes common cold sores--and the development of Alzheimer's disease later in life. The authors found that the mechanism by which viral particles of HSV1 exit infected cells facilitates the creation of the same destructive amyloid plaques that contribute to the development of Alzheimer's.
Approximately 20 percent of children are infected with HSV1 before the age of five in developed countries, and about 60 percent of the population is infected by the second and third decade of life. The infection rate later on in life is approximately 85 percent. Side note: It's more than slightly depressing to know that "85 percent" and "STD" are words that exist in the same sentence outside of Santa Barbara.
HSV1 manifests itself as blisters around the mouth or eyes, but otherwise remains latent in the nerve cells of the body. When the virus becomes active once more, new particles are made, which travel through the nerve cells and back to the mouth and eyes to re-infect the area. The more often the virus is activated, the more it can lead to the abnormal distribution of amyloid precursor protein (APP), which leads to the development of unhealthy amyloid plaques... which can contribute to the development of Alzheimer's. Rapid treatment of HSV1 reduces the time that the virus is active in your system, so it is important to treat cold sores as soon as your outbreak starts.
This is crap news for that 85 percent of us, but, hey, look at the bright side: At least we might not remember having the face herp... at some point.
Source: Brown University (2011, April 4). Herpes linked to Alzheimer's disease: 'Cold sores' connected to cognitive decline. ScienceDaily. Retrieved from http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/04/110404122203.htm