Navigation Links
Cold sore virus may contribute to cognitive and brain abnormalities in schizophrenia
Date:5/28/2010

Exposure to the common virus that causes cold sores may be partially responsible for shrinking regions of the brain and the loss of concentration skills, memory, coordinated movement and dexterity widely seen in patients with schizophrenia, according to research led by Johns Hopkins scientists.

"We're finding that some portion of cognitive impairment usually blamed solely on the disease of schizophrenia might actually be a combination of schizophrenia and prior exposure to herpes simplex virus 1 infection, which reproduces in the brain," says study leader David J. Schretlen, Ph.D., an associate professor in the Department of Psychiatry at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine.

The research, described in the May Schizophrenia Research, could lead to new ways to treat or prevent the cognitive impairment that typically accompanies this mental illness, including with antiviral drugs, the scientists say.

Doctors have long known that cognitive impairment, including problems with psychomotor speed, concentration, learning, and memory, are prevalent features of schizophrenia, which affects an estimated one percent of the U.S. population. Cognitive deficits often surface months to years before symptoms that are traditionally used to diagnose this disease, such as delusions or hallucinations.

Some previous studies have shown that schizophrenic patients with antibodies to herpes simplex virus 1 (HSV-1), the virus that causes cold sores, often have more severe cognitive deficits than patients without these antibodies. Other studies have shown that patients with HSV-1 antibodies have decreased brain volumes compared to patients without the antibodies. However, it has been unclear whether the cognitive deficits are directly related to the decreased brain volume.

To investigate, Schretlen and his colleagues recruited 40 schizophrenic patients from outpatient clinics at the Johns Hopkins and Sheppard Enoch Pratt hospitals in Baltimore, Md. Blood tests showed that 25 of the patients had antibodies for HSV-1 and 15 didn't. The researchers gave all of the patients tests to measure speed of coordination, organizational skills and verbal memory. The patients then underwent MRI brain scans to measure the volume of particular regions of their brains.

As in previous studies, results showed that patients with antibodies to HSV-1 performed significantly worse on the cognitive tests than patients without the antibodies. But expanding on those earlier studies, analysis of the brain scans showed that the same patients who performed poorly on the tests also had reduced brain volume in the anterior cingulate, which controls processing speed and the ability to switch tasks. There was also shrinkage in the cerebellum, which controls motor function.

These results suggest that HSV-1 might be directly causing the cognitive deficits by attacking these brain regions, Schretlen says.

Though the researchers aren't sure why schizophrenia might make brains more vulnerable to a viral assault, Schretlen says the results already suggest new ways of treating the disorder. Data from other studies has shown that antiviral medications can reduce psychiatric symptoms in some patients with schizophrenia. "If we can identify schizophrenic patients with HSV-1 antibodies early on, it might be possible to reduce the risk or the extent of cognitive deficits," he adds.


'/>"/>

Contact: Christen Brownlee
cbrownlee@jhmi.edu
410-955-7832
Johns Hopkins Medical Institutions
Source:Eurekalert

Related medicine news :

1. Scientist Becomes First Human Infected With Computer Virus
2. Ebola Virus Thwarted After Exposure
3. Anti-HIV Drugs May Help Prevent Spread of Virus
4. To attack H1N1, other flu viruses, gold nanorods deliver potent payload
5. Mount Sinai discovers bone marrow plays critical role in enhancing immune response to viruses
6. Oncolytic viruses mediating anti-tumor immunity in human cancer patients
7. Doctors Can Use Rotavirus Vaccine Again: FDA
8. Rotavirus Vaccine Helps Kids Avoid Severe Gastro Illness
9. Study finds rotavirus vaccine greatly reduces hospitalizations for acute gastroenteritis in children
10. Mild-mannered metabolic helper rushes to fight invading viruses, researchers report
11. Oncos Therapeutics raises €4 million ($5.3 million) to develop oncolytic viruses into cancer treatment
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
(Date:10/13/2017)... ... , ... Many families have long-term insurance that covers care for a family ... for care if the client has a cognitive impairment diagnosis. , “What this ... often waived, so the benefits from their insurance start immediately,” said Mechell Vieira, owner ...
(Date:10/13/2017)... ... 2017 , ... Global Healthcare Management’s 4th Annual Kids Fun Run brought out ... free event, sponsored by Global Healthcare Management’s CEO, Jon Letko, is aimed at getting ... children of all ages; it is a non-competitive, non-timed event, which is all about ...
(Date:10/13/2017)... ... October 13, 2017 , ... Coveros, a leader in agile ... a contract by the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS). The Enterprise ... use of Agile methodologies in a consistent and high value manner across CMS ...
(Date:10/12/2017)... (PRWEB) , ... October 12, 2017 , ... ... advisory services for healthcare compliance program management, will showcase a range of technology ... Association for Assisted Living (NCAL) Convention and Expo to be held October 14–18, ...
(Date:10/12/2017)... ... October 12, 2017 , ... The company has developed a ... and regulatory authorities worldwide. From Children’s to Adults 50+, every formula has been ... standard. , These products are also: Gluten Free, Non-GMO, Vegan, Soy Free, ...
Breaking Medicine News(10 mins):
(Date:10/4/2017)... Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), influenza vaccination should take ... communities across Massachusetts , Connecticut , ... through the end of the month. *Some exclusions apply ... ... by the end of October, according to the Centers for Disease Control ...
(Date:10/2/2017)... Mich. , Oct. 2, 2017 Diplomat ... 8th Day Software and Consulting, LLC , and ... 8th Day Software, based in Tennessee ... LLC. 8th Day expands EnvoyHealth,s service offerings for health ... development. "In an ...
(Date:10/2/2017)... Fla. , Oct. 2, 2017  AllianceRx Walgreens ... company formed by Walgreens and pharmacy benefit manager Prime ... its new brand, which included the unveiling of new ... , as well as at a few other ... the new brand to patients, some of whom will ...
Breaking Medicine Technology: