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Flu Vaccination Linked To 40% Reduced Alzheimer’s Risk – Neuroscience News

Overview: Older adults who received at least one flu vaccination were 40% less likely to develop Alzheimer’s disease over the course of four years than their peers who did not receive a vaccine.

Source: UT Houston

According to a new study from UTHealth Houston, people who received at least one flu vaccine were 40% less likely than their unvaccinated peers to develop Alzheimer’s disease over the course of four years.

Research led by lead author Avram S. Bukhbinder, MD, a recent McGovern Medical School alumnus at UTHealth Houston, and senior author Paul. E. Schulz, MD, Rick McCord Professor of Neurology at McGovern Medical School, compared Alzheimer’s disease risk between patients with and without prior flu vaccination in a large nationwide sample of US adults age 65 and older.

An early online version of the paper detailing the findings is available ahead of its publication in the Aug. Alzheimer’s Journal

“We found that flu vaccination in older adults reduces the risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease over several years. The strength of this protective effect increased with the number of years a person received an annual flu vaccine — in other words, the rate of developing Alzheimer’s disease was lowest among those who consistently received the flu vaccine each year,” Bukhbinder said. , who was still part of Schulz’s research team during his first year of residency with the pediatric neurology department at Massachusetts General Hospital.

“Future research should show whether flu vaccination is also associated with the rate of symptom progression in patients who already have Alzheimer’s dementia.”

The study — which comes two years after researchers at UTHealth Houston found a possible link between the flu vaccine and a reduced risk of Alzheimer’s disease — analyzed a much larger sample than previous research, including 935,887 flu-vaccinated patients and 935,887 unvaccinated patients.

These results underline the strong protective effect of the flu vaccine against Alzheimer’s disease. Image is in the public domain

During four-year follow-up appointments, approximately 5.1% of flu-vaccinated patients were found to have developed Alzheimer’s disease. Meanwhile, 8.5% of unvaccinated patients had developed Alzheimer’s disease during follow-up.

These results underline the strong protective effect of the flu vaccine against Alzheimer’s disease, Bukhbinder and Schulz said. However, the underlying mechanisms behind this process require further research.

“Since there is some evidence that different vaccines may protect against Alzheimer’s disease, we don’t think it is a specific effect of the flu vaccine,” said Schulz, who is also the Umphrey Family Professor of Neurodegenerative Diseases and director of Neurocognitive Disorders. Center at McGovern Medical School.

“Instead, we believe that the immune system is complex and that some changes, like pneumonia, can activate it in a way that makes Alzheimer’s disease worse. But other things that activate the immune system can do that in a different way: a way.” “It’s clear that we need to learn more about how the immune system worsens or improves outcomes in this disease.”

Alzheimer’s disease affects more than 6 million people living in the US, and the number of those affected is growing due to the country’s aging population. Previous studies have found a reduced risk of dementia associated with previous exposure to several adult vaccinations, including those for tetanus, polio and herpes, in addition to the flu vaccine and others.

In addition, as more time passes since the introduction of the COVID-19 vaccine and longer follow-up data become available, Bukhbinder said it is worth investigating whether there is a similar relationship between COVID-19 vaccination and the risk of Alzheimer’s disease.

About these vaccines and research news on Alzheimer’s disease

Author: press office
Source: UT Houston
Contact: Press Office – UT Houston
Image: The image is in the public domain

Original research: Open access.
Alzheimer’s Disease Risk After Flu Vaccination: A Claims-Based Cohort Study Using Propensity Score Matchingby Avram S. Bukhbinder et al. Alzheimer’s Journal

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Abstract

Alzheimer’s Disease Risk After Flu Vaccination: A Claims-Based Cohort Study Using Propensity Score Matching

Background:

Previous studies have found a reduced risk of dementia of any etiology following flu vaccination in selected populations, including veterans and patients with severe chronic health conditions. However, the effect of flu vaccination on Alzheimer’s disease (AD) risk in a general cohort of older US adults has not been characterized.

Objective:

To compare the risk of AD incidents between patients with and without prior flu vaccination in a large US claims database.

Methods:

Anonymized claim data from September 1, 2009 through August 31, 2019 was used. Eligible patients were free of dementia during the 6-year retrospective period and were 65 years of age at the start of follow-up. Propensity score matching (PSM) was used to create flu-vaccinated and unvaccinated cohorts with comparable baseline demographics, drug use and co-morbidities. Relative risk (RR) and absolute risk reduction (ARR) were estimated to assess the effect of influenza vaccination on AD risk during the 4-year follow-up.

Results:

From the unparalleled sample of eligible patients (n= 2,356,479), PSM produced a sample of 935,887 flu-vaccinated-unvaccinated matched pairs. The matched sample was 73.7 (SD, 8.7) years and 56.9% female, with a median follow-up of 46 (IQR, 29-48) months; 5.1% (n= 47,889) of the flu vaccinated patients and 8.5% (n= 79,630) of the unvaccinated flu patients developed AD during follow-up. The RR was 0.60 (95% CI, 0.59-0.61) and the ARR was 0.034 (95% CI, 0.033-0.035), corresponding to a number needed to treat of 29, 4.

Conclusion:

This study shows that flu vaccination is associated with a reduced risk of AD in a nationwide sample of US adults age 65 and older.

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