Evidence indicating human herpesvirus 6 (HHV-6) and related herpesviruses may contribute to the causation of Alzheimer’s disease was presented in late June in a day-long session of the 11th international HHV-6 Conference, in Quebec City, reports Leslie Norins, MD, PhD, CEO of Alzheimer’s Germ Quest, Inc. (AGQ) who attended.
“It was another sign that microbiological agents, including HHV-6, are finally beginning to receive the increased scrutiny in Alzheimer’s disease research they’ve deserved for many years,” says Dr. Norins.
He adds, “The entire spectrum of HHV-6 and its relatives’ involvement in other ‘mystery illnesses’ is also intriguing”. He credits the HHV-6 Foundation, and its co-founder/executive director, Kristin Loomis, with helping to maintain interest in this group of herpesviruses.
The keynote speaker was Dr. Joel Dudley (Mt. Sinai, New York), who reviewed his research on HHV-6 in Alzheimer’s brains, co-authored by Dr. Ben Readhead (Arizona State University) and several others. He also described the possibilities being opened by “big data” analysis of medical records containing multiple items on each patient. Dr. Readhead presented additional findings incriminating herpesviruses in neuropathology of early Alzheimer’s.
Another featured speaker was Dr. Robert Moir (Harvard), who presented the reasoning and evidence for his concept that the amyloid found in Alzheimer’s brains is not “trash”, but an important product of innate immunity which can entrap harmful viruses and other microorganisms.
Dr. “Mack” Mackiewicz, from NIH’s National Institute on Aging, reminded the audience of researchers that investigating microbial participation in Alzheimer’s disease has now been elevated to a “high-priority topic”, and that grant applications are encouraged, as described in NIA’s NOT-AG-19-012.