Coconut Oil, Ketones and Alzheimer's

Saturday, December 11, 2010

More on herpes simplex virus and Alzheimer's

On a previous post, I discussed the research conducted by Dr. Ruth Itzhaki in England providing very strong evidence that recurrent infection with herpes simplex in the brain may be the cause of Alzheimer's in certain people, those who are ApoeE4+. Please look back for the details.

Nearly all of us acquire herpes simplex virus at some point and then carry it. When we are young most of us can apparently control these infections more so than when we age. Some people, though, have recurrent outbreaks, usually as fever blisters, or for some, genital lesions. Some people with active virus show no outward symptoms at all. Reactivation of the virus produces inflammation in the brain. Most of the episodes are mild, but over time the effects could be cumulative. An infection such as this could explain why Alzheimer's begins in certain parts of the brain and eventually spreads to other areas. It could also explain the fluctuations that we often see in symptoms - when the virus is latent the person may do a little better, when there is a reactivation and greater inflammation, the person may get worse, a sort of two steps forward (worsening) and one step back (improvement) kind of process.

Steve has a long time history of lengthy outbreaks of fever blisters on his mouth, and had an outbreak around his eye and was quite sick at age 29. I strongly believe that, at least in his case, herpes simplex may be the cause of his Alzheimer's disease and this particularly bad episode could explain why he became symptomatic so early.

Now another group led by Dr. Nancy Sawtell at Cincinnati Children's Medical Center is providing more proof that herpes simplex may be the culprit for some people. She was inspired to do this work after Dr. Ruth Itzhaki visited her lab a few years ago. They have been working with mice in which the Apoe4 allele has been "knocked in" and infected them with the virus. They found that a lot more virus got into the brains of the Apoe4 mice than the non-Apoe4 mice. They are now trying to learn what makes some people more susceptible to the virus. She has found that the viral protein VP 16 is essential in triggering the virus's reactivation. So now they are trying to find substances that may inhibit VP 16 and therefore keep the virus from reactivating.

Dr. Itzhaki, in the meantime, is having difficulty getting funding for continuing her vital research. One skeptic on a review board can keep the board from approving a grant. I believe she and Dr. Sawtell are on the right path - their work needs to continue.

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  • My husbands father had Alzheimer's. I have been concerned that even though Greg shows no signs, that he may be next in line. You can bet I am starting him on coconut oil tomorrow. I found your interview on Dr Mercola's web page. My husband also had a bout with shingles last year. Thank you for this post about Shingle and Herpes.I am so happy that you care enough to share this with the world. Thank you for sharing your information. You are helping so many people. God bless you and your family.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, At December 13, 2010 at 8:41 AM  

  • Very interesting info!
    My daughter & I were recently talking about cold sores & gluten sensitivity, as her 5 year old has had a recent visible outbreak. (we've been GF about 18 months now) lists 'canker sores' as one symptom of gluten intolerance.
    This article mentions antibody testing, you can also send DNA samples to a lab in TX to see if either of you have the genes predisposing you to issues with gluten.
    In our family, blood work did not id any problems with wheat/gluten, but the Genetic tests did.

    By Blogger Dia, At December 16, 2010 at 12:18 PM  

  • I have found that if, at the first sign of a 'fever blister' forming on my lip, I take 1 500mg lysine tablet, it stops development at that point. If I feel a later resumption of blister formation, I take another tablet.

    Last year just about this time, I had an outbreak, not on my lips, but *in my mouth*. The blisters were in a straight line and very painful. I didn't think to take lysine, because I had never had blisters in my mouth before. My doctor prescribed an anti-viral drug, and the blisters began to recede at once.

    I now wonder if it was actually shingles.

    BTW, I too was linked to your site from the Mercola article, and have forwarded the information to my friends, at least two of whom have a close relative with AD.

    By Blogger Jim, At December 21, 2010 at 7:05 AM  

  • Dr Newport,
    Your husband doesn't take statin drugs does he? I hope not as you must know the links to loss of memory? Also many thanks to you for my husband's recovery as he has been taking 4 tbls of Coconut oil per day for 8 months and his memory has improved enormously especially since he went on a Low Carb, High Fat diet. This really was the final help in the situation. Have you considered this diet. I have been on it for 10 months for other reasons and it has been extremely helpful to many of my health issues.

    By Blogger Cassie, At January 16, 2011 at 7:44 PM  

  • Cindy said....I found your article on Dr Mercola`s web page. This information is very helpful. My husband will be taking coconut oil. He said what ever will help. He`s 55. Thank you.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, At May 3, 2011 at 1:08 PM  

  • I accidentally hit a key and not sure if my partial comment showed up after all - so, apologies if it is here somewhere.
    Back in 1998, I wrote to Glaxo-Wellcome, trying to find someone to ask them if they ever thought Valtrex could help Alzheimer's - in a proactive way, for people possibly at risk (with family history) of Alzheimer's. My Grandmother had developed Shingles on her forehead on New Year's Eve afternoon, 1997. We initially thought it was a rash caused by some leaves an elderly neighbor showed to her - the rash got worse over the weekend and we got to the urgent care on Monday and the doctor diagnosed Shingles. We went to the pharmacy right away and bought the Valtrex prescribed - almost immediately that afternoon, the redness subsided from her little face but she was not out of the woods until we finished it - and I would suggest to anyone ever taking it to be sure to have someone right there with you throughout, because you could get wobbly and shouldn't be alone. What got me to thinking about the Alzheimer's connection was that although Grandmother was pretty sharp for 91, after she completed the Valtrex, she seemed sharper. Also, during that time, we also had other medications delivered to us by the pharmacy (as I was with Grandmother 24/7). The delivery man told me that he had Shingles himself - that they were in his throat and they weren't diagnosed until he went to the hospital. He was given Valtrex also, which helped right away. I had never heard of Shingles in the throat - I thought it was always on the outside - but if it could be in the throat, perhaps it could also show up in the brain. Maybe people with Alzheimer's are genetically predisposed to get Shingles in the brain, rather than on the forehead or the waist or other spots on the outside - I tried at the time when I finally had some sleep to read the pamphlet that came with the Valtrex, something about the acyclovir interrupting the chain - well, we could certainly see almost miraculously how that rash that had cascaded down Grandmother's forehead had receded. I never received an answer from anyone at Glaxo-Wellcome(I wrote to them in January 1998). I went here to read more about coconut oil and Dr. Newport (had read elsewhere about what she has found to help her husband and wanted to know more so we can help my stepdad). I was very interested and hopeful to read that there is some study now on a possible connection. I do hope that more research will be done regarding Shingles and Alzheimer's - and possibly the use of Valtrex in a preemptive manner, perhaps for people to be given it if they have that genetic marker for early onset.

    By Blogger suejeanne, At August 24, 2011 at 9:49 PM  

  • Meant to say that my Grandmother was 94 years old (not 91) when she had her Shingles . . . and her mind was wonderful and sharp for the rest of her days - she almost made it to 100 years old (by three weeks).

    By Blogger suejeanne, At August 24, 2011 at 9:54 PM  

  • Try to use topical herb to use when there are active blister.

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  • Hi,
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