Flu, Pneumonia Vaccinations Tied to Lower Risk of Alzheimer’s Dementia

Flu, Pneumonia Vaccinations Tied to Lower Risk of Alzheimer’s Dementia
Caitlin Pederson, Pharm.D., M Health Fairview

A new study has shown that influenza and pneumonia vaccinations are associated with a reduced risk of Alzheimer’s disease. Prior studies have suggested the vaccination may protect against cognitive decline, but were too limited in size for a definitive recommendation. The Medical School at the University of Texas looked at 9,066 patients retrospectively via a health record database and found receiving one flu vaccine was associated with a lower prevalence of Alzheimer's (p<0.0001). The prevalence was found to be even lower in those who consistently received their flu vaccine (p=0.0342). In those 75-84 years old who consistently received their annual flu vaccine, there was almost a 6% absolute risk reduction of Alzheimer’s disease. The protective benefit was also stronger in those who received their first flu vaccine at a younger age.

Researchers at Duke University investigated the association between pneumococcal vaccination, with and without the flu vaccine, and accounted for those with a genetic risk for Alzheimer’s. After looking at 5,146 participants, it was found that pneumococcal vaccination between 65-75 years old reduced the risk of developing Alzheimer’s by 25-30%, with the largest benefit being in those who were non-carriers of the Alzheimer’s risk gene. A study conducted by the University of Copenhagen in Denmark found that infections in those with dementia lead to increased mortality. All of these studies support the need for further investigation into the role of vaccination and infection on the development of Alzheimer’s.

References:

  1. Alzheimer’s Association. Flu, Pneumonia Vaccination Tied to Lower Risk of Alzheimer’s Dementia. Alzheimer’s Association International Conference (AAIC). Published online July 27, 2020.