Dogs Infected With Heartworm (Dirofilaria Immitis) Could Be The Cause Alzheimer's Disease

By: Medical Investigator
LA JOLLA, Calif. - Nov. 9, 2022 - PRLog -- Scientists don't yet fully understand what causes Alzheimer's disease. However a new theory of the cause of Alzheimer's disease has been developed by a medical researcher looking at the relationship between domestic dog ownership rates around the world and Alzheimer's disease.

"In a nutshell, our theory is that Alzheimer's disease is an Immune response due to long-term infection from dog heartworm, transmitted by mosquitoes from canine to human, with multiple exposures over time leading to amyloid plaques in the brain, without getting full-blown dirofilariasis," explained study author and medical investigator Richard H. Davis. "What is completely new about this theory is that it suggests we don't get Alzheimer's disease overnight but it is due to multiple limited exposures to dog heartworm infections," hypothesized Davis.

Older age does not cause Alzheimer's, but it is the most important known risk factor for the disease. The number of people with Alzheimer's disease doubles about every 5 years beyond age 65. About one-third of all people aged 85 and older may have Alzheimer's disease. Most people with Alzheimer's have late-onset Alzheimer's disease, in which symptoms become apparent in their mid-60s. Alzheimer's disease is thought to be caused by the abnormal build-up of proteins in and around brain cells. One of the proteins involved is called amyloid, deposits of which form plaques around brain cells. The other protein is called tau, deposits of which form tangles within brain cells.

Saudi Arabia has the lowest rates of Alzheimer's disease and dog ownership. In Saudi Arabia, the Committee for the Promotion of Virtue and the Prevention of Vice says a person can be sentenced to death for having a dog in their home. The Saudi Arabian religious police cite the strict interpretations of the Quran, where dogs like swine are considered "unclean" animals.

Dog heartworm is spread from host to host through the bites of mosquitoes, so you don't necessarily have to own a dog to get infected, which can lead to late-onset Alzheimer's disease.

In this article the author hypothesizes: "In this paper, we propose a novel hypothesis, that there is a link between domestic dog ownership and late-onset Alzheimer's disease," noted Davis.

† A hypothesis is a predetermined declaration regarding the research question in which the investigator(s) makes a precise, educated guess.

Findings have been submitted to the Alzheimer's Disease Cooperative Study (ADCS) and to the Shiley-Marcos ADRC Monthly E-Newsletter at the University of California San Diego for Scientific peer-review publication. The author(s) have no conflicts of interest to report.

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