Can the Flu shot protect against Alzheimer’s disease?

The initial online version of the paper detailing the findings was available prior to publication in the August 2 issue of the

“We found that flu vaccination in older adults reduced the risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease for several years. The strength of this protective effect increased with the number of years a person received the annual flu vaccine – in other words, the rate of developing Alzheimer’s disease Bukhbinder, who remained a member of Schulz’s research team during his first year on the job in the Department of Pediatric Neurology at Massachusetts General Hospital, said. should assess whether influenza vaccination is associated with symptom progression rates in patients who already have Alzheimer’s dementia.”

Flu shot reduces risk of Alzheimer’s disease

The study – two years after UTHealth Houston researchers found a possible link between the flu vaccine and a reduced risk of Alzheimer’s disease – analyzed a much larger sample than the previous study, including including 935,887 patients vaccinated against influenza and 935,887 patients not vaccinated.


During follow-up appointments over 4 years, about 5.1% of patients who received the flu shot were found to have Alzheimer’s disease. Meanwhile, 8.5% of unvaccinated patients developed Alzheimer’s disease during follow-up.

“Because there’s evidence that some vaccines can protect against Alzheimer’s disease, we don’t think it’s a specific effect of the flu vaccine,” said Schulz, who is also the Umphrey Family Professor of Diseases. neurodegeneration and director of the Department of Neurocognitive Disorders. Center at McGovern Medical School.

“Rather, we believe that the immune system is very complex and that some changes, such as pneumonia, may trigger it in a way that makes Alzheimer’s disease worse. But other things trigger it. Activating the immune system could do so in another way – a protection from Alzheimer’s.Clearly, we have a lot to learn about how the immune system worsens or improves the outcome of this disease. ”

Alzheimer’s disease affects more than 6 million people living in the US, with an increasing number of people affected due to the nation’s aging population. Previous studies have found a reduced risk of dementia associated with prior exposure to various vaccines in adulthood, including tetanus, polio, and herpes vaccines, in addition to flu vaccines and other vaccines.

Additionally, as time has passed since a COVID-19 vaccine became available and longer follow-up data are available, Bukhbinder said it is important to investigate whether a similar association exists between COVID-19 vaccinations. 19 and risk of Alzheimer’s disease.

Source: Eurekalert

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