Updated: Tuesday, 08 Nov 2011, 12:06 PM EST
Published : Monday, 07 Nov 2011, 10:36 PM EST
Asked by Rosemango, New Jersey
Do flu shots make you susceptible to Alzheimer's?
Thanks for your question. The short answer is no. Here's some background information to consider.
Alzheimer's disease is the most common form of dementia in adults and affects roughly 5 million Americans. It is unknown what causes Alzheimer's disease but older age and family history appear to play a role.
One theory is that flu vaccines (possibly an additive within the shot) may be responsible for the difficulties with thought, memory and language seen in individuals who have Alzheimer's disease.
However, research does not support this theory. In fact, a study of more than 4,000 adults in Canada showed that past exposure to several vaccines, including the flu vaccine, was linked to a decreased chance of developing Alzheimer's.
Other research has reported that getting an annual flu vaccine was associated with a lower risk of death in the elderly.
Annual flu vaccines are recommended for everyone 6 months and older, but are particularly important for individuals over 50 or under 5 years of age and those with certain medical conditions.
If you have further questions about flu vaccines or Alzheimer's disease, be sure to talk with your physician.
- Dr. Jennifer Shu
Children's Medical Group
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