Hacker News new | past | comments | ask | show | jobs | submit login

Pretty awesome work. Looks like we don’t have obvious ways to avoid these classes of proteins in the same way we can just avoid tainted meat and abstain from cannibalism...



Or do we?

People taking acyclovir regularly (to suppress HSV1 and 2 symptoms) have been found to have a 10 fold decrease in risk of getting Alzheimer's (Taiwanese study).


Additional studies are currently ongoing to confirm this in the US.

The scientific "journalists" seem to jump to the conclusion that therefor HSV1,2 must be cuasal for Alzheimer's. But it could be that Acyclovir somehow prevents or slows the formation of AB tau prion-like forms (and has nothing to do with the herpes - Alzheimer's causality).

Or. Some Acyclovir prevents Alzheimer's through a completely different mechanism we don't know about yet.

My point: effective medication may already be there. We just don't know how it works yet.

Or, you know, it might be that Alzheimer's has an autoimmune factor contributing to it... :-)

Can you elaborate? As far as I know the immunesystem "has no access" to the brain?

Also by "factor" do you mean protein?

I'm just an electronics guy, would love to know more.

Sure! It'a common misconception that the brain is completely separated from the immune system. If it were, it would take one evolutionarily successful pathogen to threaten the existence of our species. The brain is indeed (usually) impenetrable to immune cells circulating in the blood stream, but there are "resident" immune cells protecting it from everything that manages to pass all the other barriers. You can read more about it on Wikipedia [1].

By "factor" I didn't mean a biological entity, but rather... well, a factor contributing to the development of the disease. (As you might have noticed, English is not my native tongue, and I couldn't come up with a sophisticated synonym to "a thing that makes a contribution to sth" ;-))

It's been long postulated that AB/tau proteins are only a symptom of Alzheimer's and not a causative agent (which would explain why, so far, no treatment has been successful despite pre-clinical successes). According to some hypotheses, what we observe is the effect of "strayed" lymphocytes going postal and attacking brain cells after being activated by a microbial agent – and HSV is one of the suspects.

Hope that helps. If something is not clear, feel free to ask and I'll try to explain :-)

[1] https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Neuroinflammation

Guidelines | FAQ | Support | API | Security | Lists | Bookmarklet | Legal | Apply to YC | Contact