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Large study suggests shingles does not increase the risk of dementia

Herpes zoster, also known as shingles, is a common disease among older adults caused by the varicella-zoster virus that also causes chickenpox. Photo: Pexels

(Deep Shukla/ Medical News Today) — It is estimated that around 25%-30% of the general population will develop shingles in their lifetime. Research suggests that viral infections could increase the risk of dementia, but evidence linking a history of shingles diagnosis to dementia is mixed.

A large population-based study published in the journal Neurology now suggests that the incidence of shingles does not increase the risk of dementia in individuals ages 40 years and older.

Dr. Charlotte Warren-Gash, an epidemiologist at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, said, “Using data from national Danish registries, the study adds to growing evidence from other countries including the United Kingdom that shingles, despite leading to other complications including post-herpetic neuralgia, does not generally raise dementia risk.” (…)