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Exposure to Common Infections Linked to Cognitive Decline

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Exposure to Common Infections Could Permanently Damage Brain

Recent research has discovered that exposure to common infections, including Chlamydia pneumoniae (which can lead to pneumonia and bronchitis), Helicobacter pylori (which can lead to stomach ulcers), and the herpes viruses (which can lead to cold sores), are linked to permanent brain changes.  Even if someone did not become ill from exposure to one of these infections, researchers at the University of Miami and Columbia University found that declines in brain function and memory were still possible effects.

Older Individuals Exposed to Common Infections Show Signs of Declining Cognitive Ability

The researchers studied the brain functions and blood samples from 588 older adults in Northern Manhattan.  Half of the participants repeated the brain function and blood sample tests after a 5-year period.  The results showed that antibody levels caused by exposure to common infections were linked to worsened cognitive performance, including memory, planning, reasoning, abstract thinking and mental processing.

Researchers Unsure About Mechanisms Behind Common Infections and Cognitive Decline

The researchers say that further research needs to be conducted to confirm their findings.  They also say that they unsure about why exposure to common infections causes cognitive decline: whether the immune system response is responsible, or if it’s the infections themselves affecting the brain.  They conclude that individuals do not need to take action against these infections, as there is no evidence to suggest that it would do any good and since these infections could have happened decades earlier, resulting in a gradual deterioration of cognitive ability.

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    Let me get this straight — unprotected anonymous sex can lead to stupidity? Not knowing where you are? Not knowing who you’re with? I always thought it went the other way.