Tuesday, June 25, 2024

Can Shingles Cause Memory Loss

Does The Shingles Vaccine Contain Thimerosal

Preventing Memory Loss

You may be concerned about additives to the shingles vaccine, like thimerosal.

Thimerosal is a preservative that contains mercury. Its added to some vaccines to prevent bacteria and other germs from growing in them. The shingles vaccine contains thimerosal.

The worry about thimerosal arose when early research linked it to autism. This connection has since been found to be untrue.

What Is The Varicella

The word varicella is derived from variola, the Latin word for smallpox. Zoster is the Greek word for girdle shingles often produces a girdle or belt of blisters or lesions around one side of the waist. This striking pattern also underlies the conditions common name: shingles comes from cingulum, the Latin word for belt or girdle.

VZV belongs to a group of viruses called herpesviruses. This group includes the herpes simplex virus that causes cold sores, fever blisters, and genital herpes. Like VZV, HSV can hide in the nervous system after an initial infection and then travel down nerve cell fibers to cause a renewed infection. Repeated episodes of cold sores on the lips are the most common example.

Most adults in the United States have had chickenpox, even if it was so mild as to pass unnoticed, and they are at risk for developing shingles later in life. In the original exposure to VZV , some of the virus particles settle into nerve cells of sensory ganglia , where they remain for many years in an inactive, hidden form. The neurons in the sensory ganglia have nerve fibers that supply the skin and relay information to the brain about what the body is sensingheat, cold, touch, pain.

Vaccination: Your Better Option

Compare those complications to the minor side effects that you might experience with the shingles vaccine: pain, swelling, itching at the injection site, and mild flu-like symptoms for only a few days. “The vaccine produces a robust response that really stimulates your immune system,” Dr. Mukerji says. “A lot of people have fatigue, headaches, and generally feel unwell. But those minor reactions are nothing compared to having shingles.”

According to the CDC, everyone over age 50 should get vaccinated against shingles, even if they’ve already had the disease or don’t recall having chickenpox. And since Shingrix is not made from a live virus, it’s even safe for people who have weakened immune systems.

“Shingles can be life-threatening in immune-compromised patients. It can be disabling if it’s located on the wrong nerve. And it’s completely preventable,” says Dr. Ostroksy, who visited the pharmacy on his 50th birthday to get his first dose of the Shingrix vaccine.

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Shingles Symptoms Before Rash

Shingles develops in two stages. The first is called the prodromal period.

Shingles is a reactivation of the varicella virus, which is what causes chickenpox. After an initial infection, the virus lays dormant in the body. Once reactivated, which can happen years down the line, shingles results.

Often, the earliest signs this is occurring are similar to what you’d expect at the start of any infection. These symptoms sometimes occur at times when you’re feeling stressed or run down. They are also systemic, meaning they affect the whole body.

You may assume you’re just overtired or coming down with a cold when you actually have shingles.

Connection Between Stress Shingles And Sleep


While stress isnt itself considered a risk factor for shingles, research published in the journal Innovations in Clinical Neuroscience suggests that stress, stressful life events, and depression often precede outbreaks of shingles. One reason may be because stress lowers the bodys natural immune defenses and provides an opening for the dormant herpes virus to reactivate and surface.

Stress can adversely impact sleep and cause insomnia. But poor sleep can also add to your stress, leaving you suffering from excessive daytime sleepiness and making you prone to accidents, injury, and illness.

Ways to reduce stress include:

  • Exercise regularly, but not too close to bedtime as doing so can make falling asleep more difficult.
  • Meditate, take a yoga class, or practice relaxation exercises.
  • Eat a healthy, balanced diet.
  • Talk with a therapist.
  • Take supplements, such as melatonin, which may improve your sleep.
  • Do something creative, such as paint or journal.

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Surprising Link Between Herpes Zoster And Dementia

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Herpes zoster does not appear to increase dementia risk on the contrary, the viral infection may offer some protection, a large population-based study suggests.

“We were surprised by these results the reasons for the decreased risk are unclear,” study author Sigrun Alba Johannesdottir Schmidt, MD, PhD, with Aarhus University Hospital in Denmark, said in a news release.

The study was June 8 in Neurology.

Who Is At Risk For Shingles

Anyone who had previously had chickenpox is at risk for shingles. About 25 percent of all adults, mostly otherwise healthy, will get shingles during their lifetime, usually after age 50. The incidence increases with age so that shingles is 10 times more likely to occur in adults over 60 than in children under 10. People with compromised immune systems, a natural consequence of aging or from use of immunosuppressive medications such as prednisone, are at increased risk of developing shingles. Immune-suppressive drugs are used to treat serious illnesses such as cancer or from chemotherapy or radiation treatment, or from infection with HIV. Some individuals can also have re-eruptions and some, particularly those with significantly impaired immunity from drugs and diseases, may have shingles that spread over the body.

Youngsters whose mothers had chickenpox late in pregnancy5 to 21 days before giving birthor who had chickenpox in infancy have an increased risk of pediatric shingles. Sometimes these children are born with chickenpox or develop a typical case within a few days .

Most people who get shingles have it only once, but it is possible for the outbreak to appear again.

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How Can I Learn About Or Participate In Clinical Research

  • Clinical trials are research studies on humans that are designed to answer specific questions about vaccines or new therapies, to test new ways of using known treatments, or to find out more about a disorder. Clinical studies and trials involving the zoster virus and postherpetic neuralgia may lead to better understanding of shingles and identify potential treatments. Both healthy individuals and people with disorders are needed to advance the understanding of diseases and how to treat them. For more information about clinical trials and how you may participate in a study, see
  • ClinicalTrials.gov provides information about ongoing and completed federally and privately supported clinical studies for a wide range of diseases and conditions, including shingles.
  • NIH Clinical Research Trials and You provides information about clinical trials, why they matter, and how to participate, including links to search for a trial or enroll in a research matching registry.

What Are The Symptoms Of Shingles

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The initial symptoms of shingles include:

  • a burning, tingling or itching sensation
  • a stabbing sensation
  • numbness in the affected area of the body
  • sensitivity to light
  • fever and/or headache

Two to 3 days after these symptoms appear, a painful rash will appear on the sensitive area of skin, usually on one side of the body in the area of one skin nerve .

At first this rash consists of painful red bumps that quickly develop into fluid-filled blisters, which will eventually have a crusty surface. The rash can last for 10 to 15 days.

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Does Shingles Increase Dementia Risk

No, shingles do not increase the risk of dementia, reveals a new study.Shingles a viral infection caused by the reactivation of the chickenpox virus results in a painful blistering rash due to nerve inflammation along one side of the body or face.


Shingles And Loss Of Appetite


HI! I’m 43 years old and was diagnosed with shingles last week. The bumps are all on the side of my right breast and the itching is unbearable!! Only now, 7 days in, are the blisters starting to burn. I’ve noticed that i have total loss of appetite and nausea with this as well. Also extremely fatigued and i cant take any time off work as i’ve already exhausted my sick time last week. Am i alone?? Is this normal symptoms of the virus?

1 like, 9 replies

  • Posted 2 years ago

    hi i have had it for awhile my doctor put me on Lyrica for burning and itching because it’s the nerve

  • Posted 2 years ago

    I am over a year now with shingles, I accept now I have PHN as result of it. My doctor put me on Lyrica , but after a couple of months I just stopped using it as I always felt like I was drunk and and could not walk a straight line, I also stopped using the Versatis patch. I now use Valtrex tablets. I would recommend people to check their diet as I found certain foods like nuts and seeds then to make it more severe. I found this out with my food change on holidays as I did not use them. I find now avoiding certain foods help.

  • Posted 2 years ago

    also stress i have had it for about five years i learn to excersise and de stress you are right i change the way i cook i haven’t had a attack in two years now even when i was sick with sepis and in a comma for four days it’s all about you the only time i use Lyrica is when i had a flare

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What Is Dementia The Killer Disease That Robs Sufferers Of Their Memories


Dementia is an umbrella term used to describe a range of progressive neurological disorders which impact memory, thinking and behaviour.

There are many different types of dementia, of which Alzheimers disease is the most common.

Some people may have a combination of types of dementia.

Regardless of which type is diagnosed, each person will experience their dementia in their own unique way.

Dementia is a global concern but it is most often seen in wealthier countries, where people are likely to live into very old age.


The Alzheimer’s Society reports there are more than 900,000 people living with dementia in the UK today. This is projected to rise to 1.6million by 2040.

Alzheimer’s disease is the most common type of dementia, affecting between 50 and 75 per cent of those diagnosed.

In the US, it’s estimated there are 6million Alzheimer’s sufferers. A similar percentage rise is expected in the coming years.

As a persons age increases, so does the risk of them developing dementia.

Rates of diagnosis are improving but many people with dementia are thought to still be undiagnosed.


Currently there is no cure for dementia.

But new drugs can slow down its progression and the earlier it is spotted the more effective treatments are.

Why Is It More Serious For Older Adults

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One reason is that older people tend to have weaker immune systems than younger people, making it harder to fight an infection of any kind.

Along with the normal age-related decline in immune system strength, other factors, including stressful life events and cancer treatment, can further compromise an older persons immune system.

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Air Pollution Causes Dementia Uk Govt Admits For First Time

Air pollution is fuelling a rise in dementia, the UK Government has acknowledged for the first time.

Toxic airborne particles from cars and fossil fuels have long been associated with rapidly increasing rates of the disease in the UK and the developed world.

Now, a major independent review has confirmed the link after analysing dozens of human studies.

The researchers concluded it was ‘likely that air pollution can contribute to a decline in mental ability and dementia in older people’.

They believe the primary way this happens is by tiny toxic particles seeping into the bloodstream after being breathed into the lungs.

The pollutants then irritate blood vessels and disrupt circulation to the brain. Over time, this can lead to vascular dementia.

It is also likely that in rare cases very small air pollution particles can pass the blood-brain barrier and damage neurons directly.

But this does not seem to be an important mechanism at the level of air pollution currently in the UK, the report found.

Previous research has indicated elderly people with high levels of the virus in their brain are at a much higher risk of Alzheimer’s.

Professor Ruth Itzhaki, from the University of Manchester, worked with researchers from Oxford’s Institute of Population Ageing and Tufts University on the latest study.

Researchers re-created brain-like environments in 6 millimetre-wide donut-shaped sponges made of silk protein and collagen.

The neuronal signals also began to slow down.

Infection Of The Central Nervous System

A previous study reported that herpes zoster cases involving the infection of the ophthalmic nerves that innervate the eyes were associated with an increased risk of dementia. The ophthalmic nerves are one of the twelve pairs of cranial nerves that supply the head and the neck with nerves.

In the present study, the researchers found that herpes zoster infections involving these cranial nerves or the inflammation of the central nervous system were associated with a two-fold higher risk of dementia.

This may be explained by severe inflammation in the brain and damage of brain tissue during the infection. However, because this complication to zoster is very rare, it may explain only a very small number of cases of dementia, Dr. Schmidt said.

Given the lack of association between herpes zoster incidence and risk of dementia, Dr. Schmidt said, Our study, therefore, does not change clinical practice. People with symptoms of zoster should still seek their doctor as soon as possible for evaluation of whether treatment should be initiated.

However, it would be interesting to see future studies looking into detail whether antiviral drugs for zoster play a role in the development of dementia, he added.

The authors believe that universal vaccination of the elderly against the varicella-zoster virus is unlikely to lower the incidence of dementia.

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What Are Other Complications Of Shingles

Complications of zoster are more frequent in people with lesions in or around the eyes, forehead, and nose , or around the ear and on the face . People with shingles in or near the eye should see an ophthalmologist immediately, as they can suffer painful eye infections and, in some cases, temporary or permanent vision loss. Symptoms can include redness and swelling involving just the white of the eye , the clear front of the eye , or internal parts of the eye. If the cornea is involved, treatment to avert permanent scarring is important to preventing lasting vision loss. The disease can cause damage to or death of the nerve cells that react to light .

Shingles infections within or near the ear can cause hearing or balance problems as well as weakness of the muscles on the affected side of the face. These problems can be long-lasting or permanent.

In rare cases, shingles can spread into the brain or spinal cord and cause serious complications such as stroke or meningitis .

The varicella zoster virus also may involve blood vessels or provoke an immune reaction irritating the surface of blood vessels . People with shingles have slightly increased risk of stroke, greatest in the first few weeks after vesicle eruption, but lasting for several months. The risk of stroke is highest in people with eye zoster, perhaps as much as five percent.

Is The Shingles Vaccine Safe

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The FDA have approved the use of both shingles vaccines in healthy adults over the age of 50.

However, there are some instances in which a person should not get either vaccine â if they are pregnant or breastfeeding, allergic to any ingredient in the vaccine, or have a weakened immune system, for example.

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Herpes Viruses May Lead To Memory Loss Cognitive Declines

The virus that causes common cold sores may be behind cognitive problems and memory loss later in life.

New research published in Neurology on March 25, found people who had higher levels of the herpes simplex type 1 virus circulating in their blood were more likely to have cognitive deficits than those who had lower levels of the virus in their blood.

“While this association needs to be further studied, the results could lead to ways to identify people at risk of cognitive impairment and eventually lower that risk,” study author Dr. Mira Katan, a neurologist with the Northern Manhattan Study at Columbia University Medical Center in New York City, said in a statement.

Cold sores are caused by one of two types of herpes simplex virus. The other typically affects the genital area. People with the herpes simplex 1 virus may not show any symptoms, but some develop painful cold sores that are often unsightly can last a week or more. There is no cure for the virus.

Researchers conducted tests that measured memory, thinking and processing abilities in 1,625 people who were on average 69 years old and lived in northern Manhattan in New York. Tests were given annually for eight years on average. Participants were also given blood tests that looked for five common infections the researchers considered low-grade: herpes simplex type 1, herpes simplex type 2, cytomegalovirus , chlamydia pneumoniae and Helicobacter pylori .

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et al/Nature Reviews Microbiology 2014

Its complicated

During shingles, the virus can also infect arteries. The immune systems attempt to clear the infection from the vessels sparks inflammation, damaging artery walls. When this post-shingles complication, called varicella zoster virus vasculopathy, hits arteries in the brain, stroke risk goes up.

Numerous studies have shown the heightened stroke risk, to varying degrees and length of time. The first major look was a study of Taiwanese medical records published in 2009, which found a 31 percent increase in stroke risk for a year after shingles when shingles had occurred in the eye, stroke risk rose further, roughly four times above normal. More recent studies out of the United Kingdom, Germany and the United States have found similar trends.

Antiviral drugs can reduce pain and itchiness and hasten the rashs departure. The U.K. study, published in 2014 in Clinical Infectious Diseases, suggested that those same drugs reduced the risk of a post-shingles stroke. Yet, in cases of shingles that feature pain but no rash, the diagnosis may be missed and the infection left untreated.

et al/Neurology

A potential sleeping pill

The transcript, which Breuers group dubbed the varicella zoster virus latency-associated transcript, or VLT, is a message that appears to stop a gene in the virus from turning on and launching an active infection.

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