This vaccine may help prevent Alzheimer’s disease

Holidays are a time for family. Festive gatherings with parents, grandparents, aunts, and uncles create memories that last a lifetime.

But when a loved one has Alzheimer’s disease (AD), holidays often become painful reminders of loss and deterioration.

Currently, Alzheimer’s affects one-in-ten adults over the age of 65—a number that is expected to triple by 2030. The need to find a cure is great.

In a new study, researchers have discovered that the Bacillus Calmette-Guérin (BCG) vaccine, originally developed for tuberculosis and commonly used to treat bladder cancer, may also be an effective treatment to prevent Alzheimer’s.

The research was conducted by a team at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem.

Previous research has shown that countries treating bladder cancer patients with the BCG vaccine had a lower prevalence of Alzheimer’s disease.

In the study, the team followed 1,371 bladder cancer patients receiving treatment at HU’s Hadassah Medical Center.

The average patient age was 68. During follow-up visits, 65 cancer patients had developed Alzheimer’s.

Those who had not received BCG as part of their treatment had a much higher risk of developing Alzheimer’s than did BCG-treated patients: 8.9% (44 patients) as opposed to 2.4% (21).

Further, when compared with the general (healthy) population, people who had never been treated with BCG had a 4-fold higher risk for developing Alzheimer’s than did those who were treated with BCG.

It’s important to note that the researchers have not developed a vaccine that prevents Alzheimer’s.

However, the study is an important step towards understanding the ways in which the immune system is a major player in the pathogenesis of Alzheimer’s.

The authors of the study include Hervé Bercovier, Charles Greenblatt and Benjamin Klein.

The study is published in PLOS ONE.

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