Alzheimer's is a tough neurological disease to tackle, given the difficulty in diagnosing at an early stage, and the limited and effective treatment options currently available.
New research has found that administering flu shots significantly reduces the risk of developing Alzheimer's, UTHealth Houston reported.
The risk of developing Alzheimer's disease over a lifetime reduces by 17% in those who have taken at least one flu vaccination. The findings are based on an exploratory study by researchers at the McGovern Medical School at UTHealth.
"About 5.8 million people in the United States have this disease, so even a small reduction in risk can make a dramatic difference. We began our study by looking for ways we could reduce this risk," said Albert Amran, lead author of the research paper.
The researchers found that some of the proteins in the flu virus likely trained the body's immune response to better protect against Alzheimer's disease. Providing people with a flu vaccine may be a safe way to introduce these proteins into the body to take on the disease, they added.
The researchers used more than 310,000 health records to study the relationship. To further validate the findings, large-scale clinical trials are needed, they said.
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