The herpes virus that produces cold sores during times of stress now has been linked to cognitive impairment throughout life, according to a new University of Michigan study that for the first time shows an impact on children ages 12-16. Researchers at the U-M School of Public Health study examined the association between two latent herpes viruses—Herpes Simplex Virus Type 1 and cytomegalovirus (CMV)—and cognitive impairment among individuals across three age groups: 6-16, 20-59, and 60 and older. The researchers used data from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey. HSV-1 is the oral herpes virus. Previous research has linked it with neurological disorders associated with aging, including Alzheimer’s disease and dementia, but few studies have examined whether these pathogens may influence cognition beginning early in life. “This study is a first step in establishing an association between these viruses and cognition across a range of ages in the U.S. population,” said Allison Aiello, associate professor of epidemiology at the U-M School of Public Health.
Source: University of Michigan