Didn't Get the Flu? Your Brain Still May Be At Risk

Hope you got your flu shot!  A new study has found that common infections -- even if they don't make you sick -- may be linked to declines in brain function, like memory and reasoning.  Merely being exposed to these infections can put you at risk.

According to Medical News Today, scientists studied brain function tests and blood sample results from 588 older adults who took part in the Northern Manhattan Study, a research project examining stroke and stroke risk factors in the Northern Manhattan community.
Half of the participants repeated the brain function tests after a 5-year interval.
The results showed "links between antibody levels caused by exposure to common infections and worsening cognitive performance in functions like memory, planning and reasoning ability, speed of mental processing and abstract thinking," the Web site reports.
The common infections the researchers studied included Chlamydia pneumoniae (which can lead to pneumonia and bronchitis), Helicobacter pylori (the cause of most stomach and duodenal ulcers), and theherpes viruses cytomegalovirus and herpes simplex viruses 1 and 2 (which can cause cold sores and other conditions).
There is evidence that exposure to the infections is linked to increased risk of stroke and atherosclerosis(where arteries become clogged up), and inflammation.
Scientists believe it could be caused "by an immune system response to the infections or the infection itself could result in clinical damage that we're not aware of."

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