Cold sores linked to cognitive decline

Posted Mar 27, 2013 by Owen Weldon
The virus that causes a cold sore may actually put people at risk for something more harmful, lower cognitive abilities.
In a study involving 1,625 people, researchers at Columbia University measured specific antibodies to common infectious agents in participants' blood. Researchers than used the information to create a burden index. People who were higher on the index were more likely to have worse cognitive abilities, according to CNN.
According to Time, the study revealed that the association was strongest among women, as well as participates with lower education levels as well as those who are on Medicaid or without health insurance, and even people who did not exercise on a regular basis.
The authors of the study said that the observation provides some indirect evidence that the negative effects that chronic infection can cause may be become less severe by doing physical activity. The authors also said that there is growing evidence that exercise has anti-inflammatory effects.
Dr. Mira Katan, one of the authors of the study, said that the study grew out of another clinical study that was conducted in the past, That study involved stroke victims, and it found an association between inflammation in the brain and chronic infections, according to NBC.
Katan said people should not make any conclusions that infections will lead to a decline in cognitive abilities, but nevertheless she and others think there may be a connection.