This is assumed to be because the viruses that induce the events that lead to dementia have vanished by the time symptoms manifest. When researchers examine these brains decades later, no detectable viral components remain to indicate causation.
The Colorado team, which includes neurovirologists, neurologists, and neuroscientists, is now looking into this further. They’re using cutting-edge technology to look for signs of these viruses in Alzheimer’s patients.
Much of their research has concentrated on the nose, which is the brain’s most vulnerable entry point. They were able to discover a genetic network that indicates whether a powerful viral response has occurred.
Are the Viruses Linked with Dementia Found in the Nose
Many viruses thought to be linked to dementia interact with the olfactory system through the nose. Inhaled particles link to olfactory receptor cells in the nasal cavity tissue and are subsequently conveyed to the olfactory bulb, which then relays them to the hippocampus. This is the portion of the brain that is in charge of memory and learning.
The link between the olfactory system and Alzheimer’s disease is well documented, with 85-90% of patients experiencing loss of smell as an early symptom of the disease. While it is unclear what causes this illness, the Colorado researchers speculate that viral infections may play a role.
Their research has given them hope that a dementia vaccine will be created in the future. Given that there is presently no cure for dementia, lowering the chance of contracting it by up to 30% by vaccination could be a significant step forward in the fight against dementia.
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