PRESS RELEASE

The Role of Infectious Agents in Alzheimer's Disease

Statement From Maria C. Carrillo, PhD, Alzheimer’s Association Chief Science Officer


LOS ANGELES, JULY 16, 2019 — Recently, bacterial or viral infection has been suggested to drive — and perhaps even initiate — the cause and progression of Alzheimer’s disease. However, the precise interaction between infectious agents and Alzheimer’s-related pathological changes remains unclear. Viruses, bacteria and other microorganisms in the brain (and the gut) are currently hot topics in neuroscience.

“Ideas in this area of research are still evolving; there is now growing evidence that microbes such as bacteria and viruses may play a role in degenerative brain diseases, such as Alzheimer’s. Possible roles in Alzheimer’s disease for microbes such as bacteria and viruses, and the genes related to them, have been studied for decades, but more research is still needed,” said Maria C. Carrillo, PhD, Alzheimer’s Association chief science officer.

A robust discussion at the Alzheimer’s Association International Conference (AAIC) 2019 in Los Angeles will include five expert speakers with differing views discussing their findings and viewpoints on this emerging, provocative topic.

Statement From Maria C. Carrillo, PhD, Alzheimer’s Association Chief Science Officer
“Ideas in this area of research are still evolving; there is now growing evidence that microbes such as bacteria and viruses may play a role in degenerative brain diseases, such as Alzheimer’s. Possible roles in Alzheimer’s disease for microbes such as bacteria and viruses, and the genes related to them, have been studied for decades, but more research is still needed.”

“While this is not a new idea, we are seeing new evidence that microbes and/or viruses in the brain may be triggering immune reactions that are related to the buildup of amyloid plaques and tau tangles, which are the hallmark brain changes of Alzheimer’s disease. This reinforces the idea that good overall health is good for the brain.”

“More evidence is accumulating that loss of cognitive function in Alzheimer’s — changes in memory, thinking, and reasoning — is caused by several different disease processes in the brain, rather than just one. This research reinforces the complexity of Alzheimer’s disease, and it highlights the importance of sharing data freely and widely across the research community. No stone should be left unturned in the vigorous search for better treatments, prevention and a cure for Alzheimer’s disease.”

“The Alzheimer’s Association offers multiple platforms — including AAIC, our journals, and other international meetings and symposia — for robust discussions about all potential causes, treatments and preventions for this terrible disease. On behalf of the 14 million Americans projected to have Alzheimer’s by 2050 and their families, it is imperative we pursue all legitimate areas of research.”

About the Alzheimer's Association International Conference® (AAIC®)
The Alzheimer’s Association International Conference (AAIC) is the world’s largest gathering of researchers from around the world focused on Alzheimer’s and other dementias. As a part of the Alzheimer’s Association’s research program, AAIC serves as a catalyst for generating new knowledge about dementia and fostering a vital, collegial research community.
AAIC 2019 home page: www.alz.org/aaic
AAIC 2019 newsroom: www.alz.org/aaic/pressroom.asp

About the Alzheimer's Association®
The Alzheimer’s Association is the leading voluntary health organization in Alzheimer's care, support and research. Our mission is to eliminate Alzheimer’s disease through the advancement of research, to provide and enhance care and support for all affected, and to reduce the risk of dementia through the promotion of brain health. Our vision is a world without Alzheimer’s. Visit alz.org or call +1 800.272.3900.

Media Contacts: 
Alzheimer’s Association Media Line, +1 312.335.4078, media@alz.org
AAIC 2019 Press Office, aaicmedia@alz.org



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