Researchers have found a physical link between the herpes simplex virus and the amyloid precursor protein (APP), which forms the plaques that are present in the brains of Alzheimer’s patients. This links the common cause of cold sores to Alzheimer’s; however, 85% of us have the herpes simplex virus in our bodies and most of us will never develop Alzheimer’s.

The discovery was made by researchers from Brown University working with the Woods Hole Marine Biological Laboratory, who found it easiest to study the movement of APP in squid. Dr. Elaine Bearer says, “It is pretty extraordinary that breakthroughs in Alzheimer’s disease and in the pathogenesis of herpes virus should be made using the squid of the North Atlantic sea?.When APP piles up around neurons, the neurons die, but we don’t yet know if this is a secondary or a primary cause of Alzheimer’s.”

Researcher Joseph A. DeGiorgis says, “At this point, of course, we don’t yet know whether herpes plays a causal role in Alzheimer’s disease, but our research does provide some interesting new insight into both diseases.”

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