Nearly 5.3 million people are living with Alzheimer’s disease in the United States today. Because there is no cure for this degenerative disease, treatment is geared towards slowing its progression. A recent study found that infections resulting from a cold, flu, or even an infected scratch, can actually speed the progression of Alzheimer's. Researchers followed over 200 patients with Alzheimer’s for 6 months and recorded whether or not they experienced any bacterial or viral infections during that time. Researchers also tested patient's blood for markers of inflammation, which would also indicate that they had suffered from some sort of infection. They found that patients who had experienced an infection during those six months had twice the rate of memory loss as patients who began with similar levels of inflammation at the start of the study but who had not had any type of infection. These findings have important implications for caretakers of patients with Alzheimer’s as avoiding infections could help slow patients' memory loss.
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