The third study, by the University of Copenhagen in Denmark, didn’t look at vaccinations to prevent infection, but at 1,496,436 aged over 65 who had visited the hospital with an infection.
The team found that people with both dementia and an infection died at a 6.5 times higher rate compared with people who had neither dementia or an infection, while those who had an infection but not dementia had a three-fold increased risk.
“With the Covid-19 pandemic, vaccines are at the forefront of public health discussions. It is important to explore their benefit in not only protecting against viral or bacterial infection but also improving long-term health outcomes,” Alzheimer’s Association chief science officer Maria C Carrillo, PhD, said.
“It may turn out to be as simple as if you’re taking care of your health in this way — getting vaccinated — you’re also taking care of yourself in other ways, and these things add up to a lower risk of Alzheimer’s and other dementias,” she said.
“This research, while early, calls for further studies in large, diverse clinical trials to inform whether vaccinations as a public health strategy decrease our risk for developing dementia as we age.”
A large review of 243 observational prospective studies and 153 randomised controlled trials published earlier in July in the Journal of Neurology, Neurosurgery & Psychiatry also identified 10 risk factors for Alzheimer’s disease, including diabetes, poor body mass index (BMI), reduced education, high blood pressure in midlife, low blood pressure, head trauma, high levels of homocysteine, less cognitive activity, stress and depression.