Vaccination against herpes zoster should reduce the risk of dementia – doctors estimate

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Herpes zoster vaccine against dementia – could this be a breakthrough? Doctor evaluates

An elderly woman suffering from dementia

According to the researchers, there appears to be a relationship between shingles infection and dementia.

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Zoster vaccination reduces new cases of dementia – by 19.9%! According to a preprint study conducted by researchers from Stanford, Heidelberg, Mainz and Vienna universities. But how is the outcome of this study evaluated? A breakthrough in dementia research? General physician Dr. Christophe Specht classifies the latest results for you.

Does shingles cause dementia?

For example, several studies have shown links between different diets and dementia. However: The causes of dementia are still largely unclear.The researchers write at the beginning of the current preprint study publication on the Medrxiv portal.

However, it appears that they have now taken an important step forward. Because: Your analyzes must prove a causal relationship between vaccination against shingles (commonly known as shingles) and protection against dementia. In other words, it was found that herpes zoster infection can cause dementia. But is this really true?

Expert rates the study: “Very clearly presented”

Dr. Christopher Specht

Dr. Christoph Specht compiles the latest research findings in an RTL interview.

Dr. Christoph Specht, RTL


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“Two groups of people were examined: those who had been vaccinated against shingles, i.e., the chickenpox virus outbreak, and another group who had not been vaccinated against shingles,” says Specht, explaining the researchers’ approach.

After that, I observed for seven years: Who gets mad, and who doesn’t? “It showed that those vaccinated were 20 percent less likely to develop dementia.”

“Maybe it is very helpful to avoid getting herpes zoster”

Even if the expert warns against drawing a definitive link between dementia and shingles from the findings: “It probably pays a lot to avoid shingles.”

then: The current findings by themselves are not very significant, but with other studies they are! And the following has already been established there: if shingles infects the herpes cells in the body (eg from cold sores), it is a congestion that can lead to the deposition of proteins typical of Alzheimer’s disease.

Reading tip: Parents have a sad plea: Ravi (3) dies after contracting herpes!

Shingles: how it develops and who should be vaccinated

Shingles is a bout of chickenpox. And everyone called them out at some point — if you didn’t get it when you were a kid, at least you got the vaccination. and it’s enough!

“The virus can be reactivated in old age,” explains Sebkht. Then in the form of shingles. “Fortunately, you can be vaccinated against it and you should watch out for it,” he advises.

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But who should use the herpes zoster vaccine? The Standing Committee on Immunization (Stiko) advises the following groups of people to be vaccinated:

  • People over 60 years old
  • People over the age of 50 who are at increased health risks as a result of an underlying disease

Vaccination against herpes zoster is not only beneficial because of the latest research findings. Because: Shingles is accompanied by burning pain, often followed by a one-sided, ribbon-like spread into the area of ​​skin belonging to the affected nerve, the RKI explains on its website. And: nerve pain in a previously affected skin area can persist for months to years after the actual disease has healed. (vho)


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