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The Troubling Link Between Cold Sores And Your Brain

If you’re one of the millions of Americans who gets the occasional cold sore, that outbreak could be more than just a frustrating nuisance. Exposure to common viruses, like the herpes simplex virus associated with cold sores, could be linked with cognitive decline and an increased risk for Alzheimer’s and dementia, according to a new study in the journalNeurology

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Researchers from Columbia University followed 1,625 adults between the ages of 59 and 79 for eight years. They found that those with a higher infectious burden—meaning they’d been exposed to a higher-risk virus or viruses, such as herpes simplex virus 1 and 2—were more likely to have worse cognition. 

Why the connection? Researchers suspect that the chronic inflammation caused by infections could be harmful to cognition in the same way previous research has found an association with strokes. Basically, the more stressed your body is, the higher the risk of issues, like cognition problems, down the road.

The association between cold sores and cognition was strongest among women who didn’t exercise, says study author Mira Katan, MD, a postdoctoral research fellow at Columbia. “This was positive because it’s at least a modifiable risk factor,” she says. “If you’re more physically active, infections wouldn’t have as big an effect on impairment.”

Katan stresses that the study only finds an association, not a cause, between common infections and dementia, and more research needs to be done before anyone who gets cold sores should worry. In the meantime, here are three natural ways to boost your immunity to keep infection—and its possible effect on your brain—at bay.

Treat yourself to a massage.Just one 45-minute Swedish massage can boost your immunity, according to a 2010 study in theJournal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine. When researchers compared blood samples of adults who’d received a 45-minute Swedish massage to adults who had a 45-minute light touch massage, they found that the more vigorous massage resulted in lower levels of stress hormones and higher levels of immune-boosting lymphocytes.

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Laugh it off.Laughter really is the best medicine, finds a study published in the journalAlternative Therapies in Health and Medicine. Women who watched a funny video were shown to have higher levels of healthy white blood cells than women who watched a video on tourism. (Plus, using a certain kind of humor can stop an argument in its tracks—here’s how.)  

Find your inner om.Practicing yoga can improve your body's ability to deal with stress, a known immune suppressor, according to a 2011 study in theInternational Journal of Yoga. Researchers found that first-year med students who practiced yoga for 35 minutes a day for three months leading up to an exam had a lower increase in heart rate, blood pressure, and respiratory rate during the exam than students who didn’t practice yoga.






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Date: 15.12.2018, 16:00 / Views: 42372