You are viewing AANS Neurosurgeon Volume 28, Number 2, 2019. View our current issue, Volume 29, Number 1, 2020

AANS Neurosurgeon | Volume 28, Number 2, 2019

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The Search for a Biological Link between Reactivated HSV and Neurological Disease

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Without even knowing it, most of us carry around latent Herpes Simplex Virus (HSV) in our nervous system—a simple result of being born and living together with others carrying the virus.

New research data suggests that reactivated HSV in trigeminal nerves of laboratory mice kills off at least a portion of sensory neurons. The findings provide additional evidence that as humans get older, the long-term consequences of HSV infection in the nervous system can accumulate. This can cause neurological damage, report the scientists at Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center and the University of Cincinnati College of Medicine (UC).  

The potential for accrued nervous system damage from HSV reactivation to contribute to neurological diseases like Alzheimer’s is currently a hot topic, according to the researchers. Clinical studies are revealing associations between HSV reactivation and neurodegeneration. Although the correlation between long term HSV infection and neurodegenerative disease is gaining support, how HSV promotes neurodegeneration isn’t clear.

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