Wellness and US Magazine

From Flu to Alzheimer’s: The Connection between Viral Infections and Neurodegeneration

As you might already know, viruses can cause a lot of problems in our bodies, from the flu to chickenpox. But, did you know that some viruses could be connected to brain diseases? This study wanted to find out if there’s a connection between viruses and diseases that affect our brain, like Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, and multiple sclerosis.

Viruses and red blood cells , Viral infection , Disease , 3d illustration

To figure this out, the researchers looked at two big sets of data, one from FinnGen and one from the UK Biobank. They looked for any patterns between different viruses and brain diseases. They found 45 different viruses that could be linked to an increased risk of brain diseases.

Of those 45 viruses, 22 of them were found to have a strong connection in both data sets. The virus that had the biggest connection to brain disease was viral encephalitis, which is a type of brain inflammation. Another virus that was strongly connected to brain diseases was influenza, which causes the flu. This virus was linked to 5 of the 6 brain diseases studied.

X-ray with brain and spinal cord concept

It’s important to note that some of these viruses were connected to an increased risk of brain disease up to 15 years after the initial infection. So, it’s possible that getting sick from a virus could impact your brain health years later.

Now, here’s the exciting part: some of these viruses have vaccines! This means that getting vaccinated against these viruses could be one way to help lower the risk of getting a brain disease.

Of course, there’s still a lot we don’t know about the connection between viruses and brain diseases. But, this study is a great first step in figuring it all out. The more we learn, the better equipped we’ll be to protect ourselves and prevent brain diseases from happening in the first place.

So, what can we do in the meantime to lower the risk of getting a brain disease?

Well, there are a few things we can focus on to keep ourselves healthy:

  • Eat a balanced diet that’s rich in fruits, vegetables, and whole grains.
  • Stay active by exercising regularly, even if it’s just taking a brisk walk around the block.
  • Get plenty of sleep.
  • Take care of your mental health by doing things you enjoy, spending time with loved ones, and seeking help if you’re feeling down or stressed.
  • Wash your hands often and get vaccinated when you can.

By doing these things, we’ll not only lower the risk of getting a brain disease, but we’ll also be taking care of our overall health.


his study is just one piece of the puzzle when it comes to understanding the connection between viruses and brain diseases. There’s still a lot we don’t know, but we’re getting closer to understanding how we can protect ourselves. By taking care of our physical and mental health and getting vaccinated when we can, we can give ourselves the best shot at staying healthy and happy.

This review was based on the study published in Neuron