Herpes and Alzheimer's

By Scott LaFee

July 1, 2020 4 min read

New findings in a lab model of the herpes simplex virus HSV-1 suggest it might cause Alzheimer's disease. Researchers used mini-3D models of the human brain that were infected by the herpes virus (which causes cold sores).

The brain organoids went on to develop the hallmarks of Alzheimer's including amyloid plaques and neuroinflammation. They were also less efficient at conducting electrical signals.

The findings support the "microbial theory" that Alzheimer's is likely caused by pathogens infecting the brain.

Young Love

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, approximately 40% of U.S. teens have had sex by the time they are 19. Broken down, that translates to 42% of girls ages 15 to 19 and 38% of boys in same age group.

The rate for girls remains steady going back to 2002; it's a decline among teen boys.

Body of Knowledge

Human tears are approximately 0.9% salt. Seawater is 3.5% salt.

Get Me That, Stat!

Looking better: New data from the nation's emergency rooms shows that eye injuries from fireworks have decreased 50% over the past 20 years, from a high of 3,000 in the year 2000 to 1,500 in 2017. For obvious reasons, July typically has the highest number of injuries, followed by January and December. Burns to eyes, usually caused by firecrackers and bottle rockets, were the most common injury.


1,600: Average cost, in dollars, of nonfatal, job-related injuries per employee

11: Average number of days of work lost to injury

Source: National Center for Injury Prevention and Control, CDC

Sum Body

If you plop a piece of white bread in your mouth and refrain from chewing, the morsel will still become mushy and begin to taste sweet. That's because enzymes in your saliva have already begun the digestive process — in this case, breaking down complex carbohydrates in the bread into simple sugars.

Enzymes power the chemistry of digestion. You manufacture a lot of them, each with specific duties. Among them:

1. Amylase, produced in the mouth, helps break down starches into sugars.

2. Pepsin, produced in the stomach, breaks down proteins into amino acids.

3. Trypsin, produced in the pancreas, also breaks down proteins.

4. Pancreatic lipase, also from the pancreas, digests fats.

5. Deoxyribonuclease and ribonuclease, again from the pancreas, break up nucleic acids, such as DNA and RNA.

Doc Talk

Bradykinesia: having slow movement or reflexes.

Phobia of the Week

Dinophobia: fear of whirlpools (if they have T. rex in them, even worse).

Best Medicine

John, having completed a course of analysis with his psychiatrist, said to a friend, "I always thought I was indecisive."

Friend: "And now?"

John: "I'm not so sure."


"What is a human being but an ingenious assembly of portable plumbing?" — American novelist and poet Christopher Morley (1890-1957)

Med School

Q: How many fluid ounces can the human stomach hold?

A: It varies by individual, but generally 16 to 50 fluid ounces, which translates to slightly less than a 7-Eleven Gulp (20 ounces) to slightly more than a Super Big Gulp (40 ounces).

Curtain Calls

In 1987, a Canadian prison inmate named Franco Brun, 22, died while trying to swallow a pocket-size Bible.

To find out more about Scott LaFee and read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators Syndicate website at www.creators.com.

Photo credit: StockSnap at Pixabay

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