Log In
Sunday 23rd October 2016

Memory loss 'sped up' by infection

8th September 2009

Scientists at Southampton University have said that memory loss in Alzheimer's patients could be doubled by infections.


In a study of 222 patients, published in Neurology, who had the disease they found that chest, intestinal and urinary tract infections increased cognitive decline.

The researchers studied the patients - who had "mild, moderate and severe forms" of Alzheimer's - over a six month period. They saw that 110 of the 222 patients suffered 150 infections, including chest, urinary tract, stomach and intestinal infections.

This caused proteins known as tumour necrosis factor (TNF) to increase in the blood, which are known as acute systemic inflammation events (SIEs).

The researchers found that a patient with one (or a number of) SIEs had twice the rate of memory loss than a patient who had not suffered a SIE.

They also found that patients with high existing levels of TNF who then had SIEs had tenfold the rate of cognitive decline.

The team's head Professor Clive Holmes, said: "The worse the infection the worse the effect on the memory, but this is only an association at the moment."

"If further work proves that TNF is causing more brain inflammation it may be possible to use drugs that block TNF to help dementia sufferers."

Share this page


There are no comments for this article, be the first to comment!

Post your comment

Only registered users can comment. Fill in your e-mail address for quick registration.

Your email address:

Your comment will be checked by a Healthcare Today moderator before it is published on the site.

Mayden - Innovative cloud-based web development for the healthcare sector
© Mayden Foundation 2016