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September 21, 2020 09:15pm
By Jill Murphy, Assistant Editor
Flu vaccination may introduce proteins used by the body to learn how to fight Alzheimer disease later on.
People who received at least 1 flu vaccination are 17% less likely to develop Alzheimer disease over the course of their life, according to a new study by the University of Texas Health Sciences Center at Houston (UTHealth).
There are around 5.8 million people in the United States living with Alzheimer disease. Currently, there is no known treatment. Because of this, it is important to find ways of reducing the risk of Alzheimer disease.
The study was composed of 310,000 electronic health records collected through the Cerner Health Facts database, which is composed of over 600 hospitals and clinicals. The study authors hypothesized that the flu vaccine may introduce proteins needed to train the body to fight off the disease.
The study found that more frequent flu vaccinations and receiving them younger in age were associated with an even lower risk of developing Alzheimer disease. More research is still needed in order to determine how and why the flu vaccine works to prevent the condition.
"One of our theories of how the flu vaccine may work is that some of the proteins in the flu virus may train the body's immune response to better protect against [Alzheimer] disease…Providing people with a flu vaccine may be a safe way to introduce those proteins that could help prepare the body to fight off the disease. Additional studies in large clinical trials are needed to explore whether the flu shot could serve as a valid public health strategy in the fight against this disease,” said Albert Amran, the study’s first author and fourth-year medical student at McGovern Medical School at UTHealth, in a prepared statement.
Flu vaccine may reduce risk of Alzheimer's disease, new study shows [news Release]. Houston, TX; July 27, 2020: EurekAlert!. Accessed August 28, 2020