Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Common infections may increase risk for memory decline

Date:
February 13, 2014
Source:
American Heart Association
Summary:
Exposure to common infections is linked to problems with memory and cognitive skills. The cognitive decline may be evident even when the infection is not.

Exposure to common infections is linked to memory and brain function -- even if the infections never made you ill, according to research presented at the American Stroke Association's International Stroke Conference 2014.

Researchers found an index of antibody levels caused by exposure to Chlamydia pneumoniae, Helicobacter pylori, cytomegalovirus, and herpes simplex viruses 1 and 2 was associated with worse cognitive performance, including memory, speed of mental processing, abstract thinking, planning and reasoning ability.

"We were very interested in what were the risk factors for cognitive performance and decline," said Clinton Wright, M.D., M.S., the study's lead researcher and scientific director of the Evelyn F. McKnight Brain Institute at the University of Miami.

Earlier studies have already linked certain infections to an increased risk of stroke and Alzheimer's disease. Researchers investigated if evidence of past exposure to these infections contributed to performance on tests of memory, thinking speed and other brain functions.

The study conducted brain function tests and took blood samples from 588 people who participated in the Northern Manhattan Study. Half of the participants then took cognitive tests again in five years.

Researchers believe exposure to these infections may be associated with an increase in stroke risk, as well as an increase in atherosclerosis and inflammation, said Dr. Wright, who is also chief of the division of cognitive disorders and associate professor of neurology, neuroscience, and epidemiology and public health at the Leonard M. Miller School of Medicine at the University of Miami.

The study doesn't explain why the infections are related to worsening cognitive function. "It could be caused by an immune system response to the infections or the infection itself could result in clinical damage that we're not aware of," Wright said.

Wright, who conducted the study in collaboration with researchers at Columbia University, isn't suggesting that people take any action to combat these infections. "There is no evidence yet that treating these infections is beneficial," he said, because the initial exposure to the viruses may have happened decades earlier and the damage may be the result of a gradual process. "It would be great if treatment prevented these bad outcomes, but we're very far away from having that type of evidence." Further studies will need to be conducted to see if the findings are duplicated in other populations, he said, since most of the participants in the study -- 70 percent -- were Hispanic.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by American Heart Association. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

American Heart Association. "Common infections may increase risk for memory decline." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 13 February 2014. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/02/140213103509.htm>.
American Heart Association. (2014, February 13). Common infections may increase risk for memory decline. ScienceDaily. Retrieved July 25, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/02/140213103509.htm
American Heart Association. "Common infections may increase risk for memory decline." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/02/140213103509.htm (accessed July 25, 2014).

Share This




More Mind & Brain News

Friday, July 25, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

University Quiz Implies Atheists Are Smarter Than Christians

University Quiz Implies Atheists Are Smarter Than Christians

Newsy (July 25, 2014) An online quiz from a required course at Ohio State is making waves for suggesting atheists are inherently smarter than Christians. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Beatings and Addiction: Pakistan Drug 'clinic' Tortures Patients

Beatings and Addiction: Pakistan Drug 'clinic' Tortures Patients

AFP (July 24, 2014) A so-called drugs rehab 'clinic' is closed down in Pakistan after police find scores of ‘patients’ chained up alleging serial abuse. Duration 03:05 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
New Painkiller Designed To Discourage Abuse: Will It Work?

New Painkiller Designed To Discourage Abuse: Will It Work?

Newsy (July 24, 2014) The FDA approved Targiniq ER on Wednesday, a painkiller designed to keep users from abusing it. Like any new medication, however, it has doubters. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Can Watching TV Make You Feel Like A Failure?

Can Watching TV Make You Feel Like A Failure?

Newsy (July 24, 2014) A study by German researchers claims watching TV while you're stressed out can make you feel guilty and like a failure. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins