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These two viruses trigger Alzheimer’s disease, scientists claim

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — According to a study published in the Journal of Alzheimer’s, a dual infection of chickenpox and herpes may trigger the progressive brain disorder. 

In a lab experiment, scientists built brain models that mimicked the environment of a human brain. It contained collagen, neurons and other cells. They then exposed the model brain tissues to the chickenpox virus. When the tissues had a genetic predisposition to the herpes virus, proteins and plaque associated with Alzheimer’s disease accumulated in the tissues. 

“It’s a one-two punch of two viruses that are very common and usually harmless,” lead study author Dr. Dana Cairns, said in a interview. “But the lab studies suggest that if a new exposure to the [chicken pox] virus wakes up dormant herpes simplex virus, they could cause trouble.”

According to the National Institute on Aging, Alzheimer’s disease is the seventh leading cause of death in the U.S. The disorder slowly destroys memory and thinking skills eventually leaving patients unable to carry out what used to be simple tasks.