During a viral pandemic, everything to do with vaccination is au courant. At this week’s virtual Alzheimer’s Association International Conference (AAIC), two reports drew attention by turning on its head the field’s emerging research trend suggesting that systemic infections could help trigger Alzheimer’s pathology in the brain. If that is true, the new studies asked, does warding off infection lower a person’s Alzheimer’s risk? Some initial data presented at AAIC hint that it might. Analyzing large population datasets, researchers found that vaccination against both influenza and pneumococci was associated with a lower risk of subsequent Alzheimer’s disease. Alas, the data are correlational, hence it is unclear if the shots themselves are protective, or if people who choose vaccination engage in other healthy behaviors that make them less likely to get Alzheimer’s.
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