GRAND JUNCTION, colo. — 35.5 million people in the U.S. got the flu last year, which lead to over 34,000 deaths. And according to the centers for disease control and prevention. Seventy-five percent Of those fatalities, were among people over 65
“The flu and pneumonia are such challenging diseases for people over 65. They are conditions that really affect not only the respiratory abilities but possibly end up in hospitalizations sometimes,” says Dr. Maria Carrillo of the Alzheimer’s Association.
Despite being in a global pandemic, health experts are urging all people and especially those over 65 to get vaccinated. Vaccines reduce the likelihood of you catching the flu, and the severity if you do catch it. But recent studies have shown another possible benefit. Preserving our cognitive health.
New research from the Alzheimer’s Association showed getting at least one flu vaccination was associated with a 17 percent reduction in Alzheimer’s incidence. More frequent flu vaccinations bumped that up by an additional 13 percent.
“That’s almost a 1/3rd lower correlation of people getting Alzheimer’s,” clarifies Jim Herlihy, the Senior Director of Marketing and Communications for the Alzheimer’s Association Colorado Chapter.
Researchers aren’t sure exactly why this is the case.
“Whether the vaccine is causing them to have lower likelihood of cognitive, or it’s a sign that they are people who lead healthier lifestyles, that’s what we need to determine going forward,” says Herlihy.
Some call it a correlation rather than a causation. But many acknowledge the numbers are significant enough that it’s worth studying in-depth.
“We cannot say today that vaccines prevent Alzheimer’s, but we know there is an association, and what that means is we have to explore why,” says Dr. Carrillo.
The Alzheimer’s Association of Colorado helps local families dealing with Alzheimer’s and dementia. For information, call their 24/7 helpline: 1-800-272-3900.
Visit the Alzheimer’s Association website: https://www.alz.org/