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Studies Suggest Alzheimer's Risk Reduced By Getting Flu And Certain Bacterial Pneumonia Vaccines

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) -- There is an apparently connection between COVID-19, the flu, pneumonia and Alzheimer's disease.

As CBS2's Dr. Max Gomez reported Wednesday, by preventing two of them, you can also reduce your risk of the feared memory-robbing Alzheimer's. It all revolves around vaccines.

A flu shot is critically important this year because COVID-19 and influenza have similar early symptoms, but very different treatments. Plus, a type of bacterial pneumonia is a major killer as well.

MORE: Survey Says Many Parents Plan To Skip Flu Shots For Children This Year, Going Against Health Experts' Recommendations

It turns out there are vaccines for both the flu and this pneumonia and they will reduce your chances of getting Alzheimer's.

Many folks aren't aware that a deadly type of pneumonia is also preventable with a vaccine. Now two studies, one from Duke University, the other from the University of Texas, have shown an important side effect of those vaccines.


A single flu shot was associated with a 17% reduction in Alzheimer's incidence. More frequent flu vaccination reduces Alzheimer's incidence another 13%. As for pneumonia, giving the pneumovax vaccine to people between the ages of 65 and 75 reduced Alzheimer's risk by up to 40%, depending on individual genes.

MORE: Doctors: Allergy Season Could Last Longer Than Usual, Overlapping COVID-19, Colds, And Flu

Elizabeth Smith-Boivin, the executive director of the Alzheimer's Association's Northeast NY Chapter, says there are several theories as to why that may be.

"Maybe those folks that are getting the vaccines year after year after year and eliminating or reducing their viral or bacterial load are thereby protecting their overall health, including their neuro health," Smith-Boivin said.

MORE: CBS2's Dr. Max Gomez Dispels Flu Shot Myths; Vaccine Critical To Prevent 'Twin-Demic' When Flu Overlaps With COVID-19

It could also be that people who get those vaccines are more health conscious in attending to their overall heart and brain health, which are known to be protective against Alzheimer's.

Whatever the reason, those vaccines are something we should all be getting. Preventing Alzheimer's is great icing on the cake.

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