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Cytomegalovirus Infection and Risk of Alzheimer’s Disease in Older Blacks and Whites


Barnes, Lisa L.; Capuano, Ana W.; Aiello, Allison E.; Turner, Arlener D.; Yolken, Robert H.; Torrey, E. Fuller; & Bennett, David A. (2015). Cytomegalovirus Infection and Risk of Alzheimer's Disease in Older Blacks and Whites. Journal of Infectious Diseases, 211(2), 230-237. PMCID: PMC4326304


BACKGROUND: CMV is prevalent in older adults and has been implicated in many chronic diseases of aging. This study investigated the relation between CMV and risk of Alzheimer's disease (AD).
METHODS: Data come from three cohort studies that included 849 participants (mean (sd) age=78.6 (7.2)years; mean (sd) education=15.4 (3.3) years; 25% Black.
RESULTS: A solid-phase enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay was used for detecting type-specific IgG antibody responses to CMV and HSV-1 measured in archived serum samples. Of 849 participants, 73.4% had serologic evidence of exposure to CMV (89.0% Black, 68.2% White, p<.001). During an average of 5.0 years of follow-up, 93 persons developed AD. CMV seropositivity was associated with increased risk of AD (relative risk, 2.15; 95% confidence interval, 1.42-3.27), and a faster rate of decline in global cognition (estimate=-0.02, SE=0.01, p=.03) in models that controlled for age, sex, education, race, vascular risk factors, vascular diseases, and APOE. Results were similar in Blacks and Whites for both incident AD and change in cognitive function and were independent of HSV-1.
CONCLUSIONS: These results suggest that CMV infection is associated with an increased risk of AD and a faster rate of cognitive decline in older diverse populations.


Reference Type

Journal Article

Year Published


Journal Title

Journal of Infectious Diseases


Barnes, Lisa L.
Capuano, Ana W.
Aiello, Allison E.
Turner, Arlener D.
Yolken, Robert H.
Torrey, E. Fuller
Bennett, David A.