June 30, 2022 – For older adults, getting the annual flu shot might do greater than shield in opposition to the flu. It might additionally scale back the danger of getting Alzheimer’s illness.
In a big examine of vaccinated and unvaccinated adults ages 65 and older, those that obtained not less than one influenza vaccine had been much less seemingly than unvaccinated friends to get Alzheimer’s over the course of 4 years.
However it’s not a one and executed. The power of the protecting impact elevated with the variety of years that an individual obtained an annual flu shot, such that the speed of creating Alzheimer’s was lowest in individuals who constantly received the flu vaccine yearly.
“Influenza an infection may cause critical well being issues, significantly in adults 65 and older,” says Avram Bukhbinder, MD, with UTHealth in Houston.
“Our examine’s findings – that vaccination in opposition to the flu virus might also scale back the danger of Alzheimer’s dementia for not less than a number of years – provides to the already compelling causes to speak together with your physician about getting the flu vaccine yearly,” he says.
This examine “means that flu vaccination could also be useful for sustaining cognition and reminiscence as we age. That is much more related right this moment within the COVID-19 atmosphere,” says Heather Snyder, PhD, with the Alzheimer’s Affiliation.
Greater than 6 million People are residing with Alzheimer’s. By 2050, this quantity is projected to rise to almost 13 million, based on the Alzheimer’s Affiliation.
The Houston researchers in contrast the danger of Alzheimer’s in roughly 935,000 flu-vaccinated adults and an analogous variety of non-vaccinated adults ages 65 and older.
Over the course of 4 years, about 5% of flu-vaccinated adults received Alzheimer’s illness, in comparison with round 9% of adults who weren’t vaccinated.
The chance of getting Alzheimer’s illness was 40% decrease within the vaccinated group.
The obvious protecting impact on dementia will not be particular to the flu vaccine. Previous research have discovered ties between different grownup vaccinations – together with these for tetanus, polio, herpes, and pneumonia – and a decrease threat of dementia.
And as extra time passes because the introduction of the COVID-19 vaccine, it will likely be value investigating whether or not an analogous affiliation exists between COVID-19 vaccination and a decrease threat of Alzheimer’s illness, the researchers say.
Snyder cautions that it’s “too early to inform if getting flu vaccine, by itself, can scale back threat of Alzheimer’s. Extra analysis is required to know the organic mechanisms behind the outcomes on this examine.”
“For instance, it’s attainable that people who find themselves getting vaccinated additionally take higher care of their well being in different methods, and this stuff add as much as decrease threat of Alzheimer’s and different dementias,” Snyder says. “It is usually attainable that there are points associated to unequal entry and/or vaccine hesitancy and the way this will affect the examine inhabitants and the analysis outcomes.”