Is a Vaccine to Prevent Dementia Possible?

December 26, 2022 at 11:46 a.m.
Researchers say a vaccine for dementia could be on the horizon
Researchers say a vaccine for dementia could be on the horizon

With over 55 million people living with dementia throughout the world, it is alarming that this figure is expected to double every 20 years. But some researchers say there is cause for hope: several pharmaceutical companies are testing a new approach to fighting dementia through the use of vaccines.

An article published this month in Best Life by Lauren Gray looked at the link between vaccines and dementia.

For something you can do right away, studies show that receiving routine vaccines as an adult is associated with a lower dementia risk. 

A 2022 study published in Frontiers in Immunology concluded that maintaining a recommended vaccine schedule “may be an effective strategy for dementia prevention.” While more research is needed to understand the association between routine vaccines and lower dementia risk, knowing about this correlation is notable in the fight against dementia. The researchers analyzed 17 studies that included over 1.8 million participants and found that vaccinations were linked with a 35 percent reduction in dementia risk. The analysis showed that those with more vaccination types and more annual flu vaccines were less likely to develop dementia.
And now researchers are beginning to examine vaccine candidates that could specifically target dementia. Many of the new studies are using antibodies to help fight deposits of proteins in the brain associated with dementia: amyloid and tau. Several vaccines candidates have entered clinical trials. One such candidate developed by the pharmaceutical company Vaxxinity received fast track designation from the FDA.

Despite the focus on vaccines, some experts remain skeptical about this approach.

While researchers continue to study different pathways to treat or prevent dementia, here is what you can do right now (in addition to staying current with vaccines): Lifestyle choices can likely prevent or delay the onset of dementia. Lifestyle choices include a healthy diet such as the MIND-DASH diet, getting regular exercise, treating underlying conditions such as hypertension, diabetes, hearing loss, depression, limiting your alcohol intake and quitting (or never starting) smoking. Other positive lifestyle choices include learning new things that challenge your mind, maintaining social connections, and engaging in hobbies and other enjoyable activities.

Read the original article here.

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