Can a Brain Infection Cause Alzheimer’s disease?

Recently, researchers at Harvard have come up with a hypothesis that Alzheimer’s disease could be caused by an infection. They are suggesting this may happen because of a leaky brain barrier leak. Supposedly as people age, the brain barrier gets weaker. When a person gets an infection, it crosses over into the brain and leaves behind plaque. The plaque that’s left behind is a tell-tale sign of Alzheimer’s disease.
The researchers from Harvard have already been doing studies to confirm part of their hypothesis. They have been conducting studies in Petri dishes, mice, fruit flies, and roundworm. A study done with mice revealed that Salmonella bacteria would cause plaques in the brain of the mice. Since this study verified that a bacteria could cause plaques, researchers want to continue their next phase of studies by examining the human brain. The current studies on animals were funded by the National Institutes of Health and the Cure Alzheimer’s Fund. These studies are critical in helping find a cure for Alzheimer’s.
Besides this theory, the Harvard investigators think there is more to Alzheimer’s than just a brain barrier leak. Some Alzheimer’s patients have a mutated gene that will cause this disease while other patients have been found to have high levels of antibodies to herpes and developed Alzheimer’s later in life. Alzheimer’s disease seems to have more than one possible cause however; researchers at Harvard believe the brain barrier hypothesis needs to be further researched.