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"Decreasing the incidence of dementia through treatment of herpes virus with antiviral therapy"

10 August 2019


Background: Dementia is the fifth leading cause of death worldwide with significant effects on healthcare costs and caregiver demands. Therapy up to this point has only shown marginal benefit in delaying the disease. Focus on preventative treatment now is of upmost importance. The link between herpes virus infection and the development of dementia has been well researched, and is an area of focus that may result in preventative therapy. The aim of this study is to assess the efficacy of herpes antiviral treatment in the prevention of dementia.

Methods: An exhaustive search of medical literature, including the databases Medline: Pubmed, ClinicalKey, Web of Science and CINAHL, was completed using the following search terms: alzheimer OR alzheimer's OR dementia AND herpes AND risk AND antiviral OR anti- herpetic. Studies were assessed for quality using GRADE criteria.

Results: A total of 14 articles were screened, 2 of which met inclusion criteria. Both were population-based retrospective cohort studies based in Taiwan. Both studies found a significant association between antiviral therapy for HSV and HZV infections and decreased risk of dementia. Due to the limitations of the current studies further research is required which address a broader population and utilize more sensitive study protocols such as a randomized controlled trial.

Conclusion: Antiviral therapy is associated with a significant decrease in the development of dementia. Further research is warranted to assess the link between these findings.


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