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Approved Research

Leveraging population-based human data to uncover mechanisms connecting Alzheimer's diseaseand common infections and facilitate vaccines repurposing for AD prevention

Principal Investigator: Professor Svetlana Ukraintseva
Approved Research ID: 82705
Approval date: August 9th 2022

Lay summary

Alzheimer's disease (AD) is a complex neurodegenerative disorder, with potentially many mechanisms and involved biological processes. Accumulating evidence suggests that infections may play an important role in AD development, however, exact mechanism is unclear. Recent studies linked various microorganisms to AD and related traits. This indicates a possibility that the culprit may be not a specific microbe (or not only it) but weakened immunity that may increase the brain's vulnerability to various infections and damaging factors, and through this contribute to AD. The goal of this study using the UK Biobank data is to significantly improve our understanding of the complex connections between infections and AD. To address this objective, we will evaluate associations of common adult infectious diseases (pneumonia, flu, shingles, mycoses, and other) with AD and related disorders and traits (e.g., brain volume, cognitive scores), taking into account genetic and other factors, such as exposures to air pollution, brain trauma, and medication, using the rich information available in the UK Biobank data. Results of these analyses will help clarify the role of  infectious diseases in AD and other complex disorders, and will facilitate development of personalized AD prevention in older adults.