BEING vaccinated against pneumonia could significantly reduce the risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease, new research suggests.
In a study being presented at the annual Alzheimer’s Association International Conference on Monday – held virtually this year – Duke University scientists looked at the medical records of people aged 65 and older.
They found that receiving the pneumonia immunization before age 75 lowered the risk of the age-related brain disease by about one-third.
Sufferers experience a decline in cognitive, behavioural and physical abilities and there is no cure.
Those who have the disease have a build-up of two proteins, amyloid-beta and tau, in the brain that form clumps, which smother and destroy neurons – leading to loss of memory and confusion.
For the study, the team looked at the medical records of more than 5,100 people aged 65 or older.
Volunteers who received the jab with and without an accompanying seasonal flu shot were also compared.
Researchers found that those who received a pneumonia vaccine before age 75 were between 25 and 30 per cent less likely to be diagnosed with Alzheimer’s.
The largest reduction, up to 40 per cent, was seen in people who were vaccinated and non-carriers of a gene that raises the risk of the disease.