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Can The Flu Shot Cause Dementia

A Defense Against Dementia

Flu shot may lower risk for Alzheimer’s, studies finds

During the 2019-2020 flu season, an estimated 38 million people became ill from influenza. Approximately 400,000 were hospitalized, and 22,000 died. These are terrible numbers, but they are slightly better when compared with the previous two seasons: During the 2018-2019 season, 34,200 people died, while 61,000 died during the 2017-2018 season.

Understandably, our focus during the 2020-2021 season has shifted a bit. Of course, the healthcare community hasnt stopped warning the public about the flu, but COVID-19 has been prioritized. The CDC hasnt stepped back from its stance on the flu vaccine, either, and now theres an added incentive to be vaccinated and not just for the flu virus, but also for pneumonia.

Recent research indicates that aside from helping to protect against the flu and pneumonia, these vaccines also provide a shield against Alzheimers disease. The vaccines lessen the risk of developing dementia, according to three separate studies announced during last years Alzheimers Association International Conference.

See Can The Flu And Other Viruses Cause Neurodegeneration

The second study, presented by researchers at Duke University and the University of North Carolina, studied the relationship between the pneumococcal vaccine, with and without an accompanying flu shot, and the risk of Alzheimers. The team analyzed the medical records of more than 5,000 people over age 65, controlling for the effects of factors such as sex, race, education, and smoking. Some individuals included in the study also had a known genetic risk factor for Alzheimers, the rs2075650 G allele in the TOMM40 gene involved in the permeability of the blood-brain barrier that protects the brain from infection.

Svetlana Ukraintseva, a geneticist at Duke University and coauthor on the study, reported that getting a pneumococcal vaccine between the ages of 65 and 75 was tied to a reduced risk of developing Alzheimers, by 25 percent to 30 percent. Among those who did not have the rs2075650 G allele, the risk was as much as 40 percent lower if theyd been immunized. Pneumonia vaccination appears to be protective for older adults, Ukraintseva tells NPR.

The Coronavirus Vaccine Doesnt Cause Alzheimers Als

If Your Time is short

  • Classens paper presents no evidence other than a three-sentence methods section that summarizes an unspecified analysis of the COVID-19 vaccine.

  • Coronavirus vaccines developed by Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna have not been linked to neurodegenerative or prion diseases.

A research article making the rounds online claims that the COVID-19 vaccine could cause diseases like Alzheimers. Dont believe it.

In the article, published in the journal Microbiology & Infectious Diseases in January, J. Bart Classen wrote that components of the coronavirus vaccines may cause the misfolding of proteins associated with Alzheimers and Lou Gehrigs disease, also known as amyotrophic lateral sclerosis.

“The enclosed finding as well as additional potential risks leads the author to believe that regulatory approval of the RNA based vaccines for SARS-CoV-2 was premature and that the vaccine may cause much more harm than benefit,” Classen said in the paper.

The article was surfaced to PolitiFact by VineSight, a firm that tracks online misinformation. It has been shared widely on social media and blogs that advocate against vaccines, so we wanted to take a closer look.

The research article is baseless there is no evidence that the coronavirus vaccine causes Alzheimers, ALS or prion diseases. When we reached out to Classen for a comment, he said his paper “speaks for itself.”

Featured Fact-check

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The first study came from a team at the University of Texas that combed through millions of medical records in a national database. The goal was to find factors that affected a person’s risk of getting certain diseases, including Alzheimer’s.

“And one of the things that came back was flu shots,” says Albert Amran, a medical student of the McGovern Medical School at the University of Texas Health Science Center in Houston and an author of the study.

That seemed odd. So Amran and a team of researchers took a closer look at the medical records of about 9,000 people who were at least 60 years old. Some had received a seasonal flu shot. Some hadn’t.

“We to make sure that both groups had an equal amount of, say, smoking status, obesity, diabetes, cardiovascular disease,” Amran says. Those are known risk factors for Alzheimer’s. The team also looked at factors like education and income, and indicators like the number of prescriptions a person had received, to make sure that people who got vaccines weren’t just healthier overall. They weren’t.

Next the researchers looked to see who was most likely to be diagnosed with the disease.

People who got at least one flu shot had a 17% reduction in risk, Amran says. And people who got regular vaccinations saw their risk drop another 13%.

“More vaccinations meant less Alzheimer’s,” Amran says.

Degree of brain benefit might vary

But he cautions that the amount of benefit from flu vaccination could be different in a different group of people.

How Might Vaccines Protect Against Alzheimer’s Disease

Flu Shot Questions from Alzheimer

Researchers don’t know exactly, but they have a few theories. “Perhaps preventing the viral infection itself may protect against neurological complications of the infection,” Amran says.

Another possibility centers on the immune system in general. As we get older, our immune system weakens, and it can’t respond as quickly or as strongly to viruses and other threats as it did when we were young. It’s also not as good at keeping harmful substances out of our brain, or as efficient at fixing any damage that does happen to the brain.

Vaccines not only prevent a specific type of infection, but they might also give the immune system an overall boost. “You have this activated immune response for maybe several months or years, which allows you to also be protected against a bunch of other diseases,” Ukraintseva says.

It’s also possible that people who get vaccinated take better care of their health in other ways — for example, they eat a healthy diet and exercise — which helps protect them from Alzheimer’s disease. The authors of both studies tried to control for other healthy practices but couldn’t confirm whether they played a role in Alzheimer’s prevention.

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The Flu Vaccination Is The Most Effective Preventative

As no strand of the flu is ever the same, there is not one single vaccination that can prevent you from getting the flu. Studies have shown that the vaccination is 50-60% more likely to prevent flu however, there is still a chance of contracting the flu. That being said, the flu vaccination is the most effective way to prevent contracting the flu, and if it doesnt interfere with the patients medication or put the in a life threatening situation, it should be considered.

Viral Infections Linked To Dementia

Infection With Common Viruses May Increase Dementia Risk

Aug. 14, 2003 — Certain viral infections may increase the likelihood of mental decline and dementia, especially among older adults with heart disease.

A new study shows that elderly people with evidence of infection with three common viruses — viruses that cause cold sores, genital herpes, and a mono-like illness — were more than twice as likely to suffer from dementia.

Researchers say the study adds new evidence to the theory that inflammation, which is part of the body’s natural response to infection, plays an important role in the development of several health problems, such as heart disease, stroke, and dementia.

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How Effective Is The Seasonal Flu Shot

Influenza vaccine effectiveness can vary. The protection provided by a flu vaccine varies from season to season and depends in part on the age and health status of the person getting the vaccine and the similarity or match between the viruses in the vaccine and those in circulation. During years when the flu vaccine match is good, it is possible to measure substantial benefits from flu vaccination in terms of preventing flu illness and complications. However, the benefits of flu vaccination will still vary, depending on characteristics of the person being vaccinated , what influenza viruses are circulating that season and, potentially, which type of flu vaccine was used. For more information, see Vaccine Effectiveness How well does the Flu Vaccine Work. For information specific to this season, visit About the Current Flu Season.

*References for the studies listed above can be found at Publications on Influenza Vaccine Benefits. Also, see the A Strong Defense Against Flu: Get Vaccinatedpdf icon! fact sheet.

Do People With Parkinsons Get Priority Access To The Covid

No, COVID-19 shots don’t accelerate the effects of Alzheimer’s and dementia

Each state has its own process for rolling out the vaccine to different population groups. If you would like to advocate for people with Parkinsons to be part of a priority group, we encourage you to contact your elected officials. We have created a letter that you can personalize and send them either by mail or electronically.

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The Flu Shot And Alzheimer’s

In another study this year, people who got one or more flu vaccines were 17% less likely to get Alzheimer’s disease. Those who got their flu shot more often had an additional 13% lower risk. Getting the first flu shot earlier in life — at age 60 — seemed to offer better protection than waiting until age 70 to get the vaccine.

“Overall, we found that flu shots, and more frequent flu shots, were associated with less cases of Alzheimer’s disease,” says Albert Amran, a fourth-year medical student at McGovern Medical School at UTHealth, who led the study.

These aren’t the only studies to link vaccines with a reduced risk of Alzheimer’s disease. An older study of 4,000 people ages 65 and older found that people who’d been exposed to the diphtheria, tetanus, polio, or flu vaccine had a lower risk for dementia. In another study, people with chronic kidney disease who got the flu vaccine were 30% to 40% less likely to get dementia, compared to those who weren’t vaccinated.

Vaccines Protect Against Cognitive Decline

The first study, which came out of the University of Texas, set out to understand if vaccinations provide some degree of protection against Alzheimers.

The researchers looked at the health records of over 9,000 people aged 60 and older and found that people who received one flu vaccination had a 17 percent lower risk of developing Alzheimers. Those who got two or more flu shots had an additional 13 percent lower risk.

The second study was conducted by researchers from Duke University and the University of North Carolina. They looked at the health records of over 5,000 people ages 65 and up and found that people who got a pneumonia vaccine before age 75 were about 2530 percent less likely to develop Alzheimers.

According to the researchers, the findings suggest the pneumococcal vaccine may be a promising Alzheimers prevention tool.

A third study presented at the conference spoke to the value of vaccines in people with dementia.

Looking at the health data of over 1.4 million people, researchers from Denmark found that people with dementia who were hospitalized with an infection were 6.5 times more likely to die compared to people who didnt have an infection or dementia.

That heightened risk of mortality among people with dementia existed in both the short term, within 30 days of contracting an infection, and the long term, or about 10 years after the first infection.

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I Had A Flu Jab Last Year Do I Need Another One

Yes. Flu strains change often, which is why a new flu vaccine is made every year. This means people affected by dementia need a flu vaccine every year too.

Although people who have a flu vaccination do sometimes still get the flu, its usually milder and doesnt last as long as it would have otherwise.

Seasonal Flu Vaccine May Reduce Incidence Of Alzheimers Dementia

Why Seniors and Their Caregivers Need Flu Shots

While earlier research has suggested that vaccinations might help protect against cognitive decline, the Alzheimers Association said there have been no large, comprehensive studies specifically focused on the influenza vaccine and Alzheimers disease risk.

A team led by Albert Amran, a medical student at McGovern Medical School at the University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston, sought to fill that gap by investigating a 9,000-record dataset from all over the United States.

In his research, Amran found that one flu vaccination was associated with a lower prevalence of Alzheimers, and that patients receiving the flu vaccine more frequently was associated with an even lower prevalence of Alzheimers.

Put simply, consistently getting an annual flu shot seemed to lead to a reduced risk of Alzheimers disease for patients between the ages of 75-84.

The researchers also found that getting a first vaccination at a younger age 60 instead of 70, for example seemed to protect best against Alzheimers.

Our study suggests that regular use of a very accessible and relatively cheap intervention the flu shot may significantly reduce risk of Alzheimers dementia, Amran said.

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Is It More Difficult To Recover From Covid

Stay up to date with Parkinson’s and COVID-19 information at

Dr. Okun: Data suggests that having Parkinsons means a more difficult COVID-19 recovery. Since this virus is still actively spreading, we are collecting tons of data on COVID-19 patients. A study from The Roy J. and Lucille A. Carver College of Medicine at the University of Iowa, a Parkinsons Foundation Center of Excellence, showed that people with Parkinsons who contracted COVID-19 had a 30 percent increased risk of mortality from the virus.

Saint Louis University School Of Medicine

Established in 1836, Saint Louis University School of Medicine has the distinction of awarding the first medical degree west of the Mississippi River. The school educates physicians and biomedical scientists, conducts medical research, and provides health care on a local, national and international level. Research at the school seeks new cures and treatments in five key areas: cancer, liver disease, heart/lung disease, aging and brain disease, and infectious diseases.

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Theres Growing Evidence That Inoculation Confers Significant Protective Benefits

    Covid vaccines enormously reduce the risk of death and hospitalization in those who have been infected by the novel coronavirus. But could they also help protect seniors against dementia and Alzheimers disease? Theres reason to hope so.

    Growing evidence indicates that seniors who get vaccinated against illnesses such as tetanus and even the flu are much less likely to develop Alzheimers, the leading cause of dementia, characterized by a buildup of amyloid plaque and tau tangles in the brain. Scientists dont completely understand why, but many hypothesize that vaccines generate a systemic immune response that can reduce inflammation in the brain, which results in neuron loss and cognitive decline.

    Where And When Can I Get The Flu Vaccine

    Coronavirus – Flu & Coronavirus / Flu Vaccine myth busting

    The flu vaccine is available for free on the NHS topeople who are most at risk, most commonly from your GP or care home.

    You can also get it at local pharmacies that offer this service. If you are not eligible for the free vaccine or want to get it sooner, you can pay to have it at your local pharmacy instead. Expect to pay under £20.

    The NHS advises that autumn is the best time to have a flu vaccine, but you can also have it later in winter. The sooner you have the vaccine, the sooner you will be protected.

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    Alzheimer’s Other Chronic Disease Support Groups Move Online

    It can be hard for the healthiest families among us to handle the isolation and inconvenience that comes with Covid-19 restrictions. Those with loved ones who have chronic health conditions face greater obstacles, including when dementia becomes part of the equation. Some families already on edge cant get a break from the unpredictability of someone at home all the

    Meanwhile, the Alzheimers Association and its regional office stand ready to provide support for those with dementia and their loved ones.

    Call 800-272-3900 any time to be connected to a trained staff member. It might be Nobrega. Visit or to connect with regional support groups, get one-on-one guidance or learn more about caregiver respite opportunities. Learn more about the annual conference, which took place in July, at

    The regional association has moved its support, social and educational programs online, Nobrega said. Gone, for now, are road trips to places that have included the National Comedy Center in Jamestown and Niagara Falls Underground Railroad Heritage Center. They have been replaced by virtual bingo, music therapy and online tours of the Albright-Knox Art Gallery.

    Dementia and infections

    Nobrega provided the following tips to help those with dementia and their caregivers to stay safe during this flu season, while Covid-19 creates additional deadly health risks.

    If Someone Did Not Have Parkinsons Before Is It Likely That They Will Develop It After Recovering From Covid

    Dr. Okun: We do not have the numbers on how common it is to receive a Parkinsons diagnosis after recovering from COVID-19. There are several intriguing papers on how COVID-19 may affect the brain and how it may possibly contribute to Parkinsons risk. At this point, we caution the public and researchers not to speculate until we have more data.

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    This Image About Vaccine Ingredients Is Extremely Misleading

    What was claimed

    Aluminium is in vaccines and is linked to Alzheimers, dementia, seizures, autoimmune diseases, SIDs and cancer. Aluminium can accumulate in the brain and cause more damage with each dose.

    Our verdict

    There is no evidence that aluminium build up in the brain causes the disease. Studies show that the amount of aluminium we can get from vaccines is not enough to be unsafe.

    What was claimed

    Beta-Propiolactone is in vaccines and is known to cause cancer, suspected gastrointestinal, liver, nerve and respiratory, skin and sense organ poison.

    Our verdict

    It may be present in trace amounts of some vaccines. It is potentially carcinogenic, but only in much larger amounts than would be in a vaccine.

    What was claimed

    The antibiotics gentamicin sulfate and polymyxin b are in vaccines and can cause allergic reactions ranging from mild to life-threatening.

    Our verdict

    Traces of these antibiotics can end up in certain vaccines, but would only cause a reaction in someone severely allergic.

    What was claimed

    Genetically modified yeast, animal, bacterial and viral DNA in vaccines can be incorporated into the recipients DNA causing unknown genetic mutations.

    Our verdict

    Modified DNA can be used in the production of some vaccines, but is very unlikely to end up in the final product. Even if it did, theres no evidence it can cause mutations.

    What was claimed

    Note: the information in this article refers to vaccines in the UK, unless otherwise stated.


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