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Doesn’t ring right really

Calmette and Guérin could have never imagined that their research would inspire scientists investigating an entirely different kind of disease more than a century later. Yet that is exactly what is happening, with a string of intriguing studies suggesting that BCG can protect people from developing Alzheimer’s disease.

If this is true then those who have had the BCG should be protected against Alz. Yet all those in the care homes are of an age where they would have had the BCG in childhood…..

What’s the bit I’m missing here? Attenuation (right word?) of the effect over time?

12 thoughts on “Doesn’t ring right really”

  1. Well, a way to go I think. When did the BCG become standard ? 1970s? I received it as a First year in 1977. So really oldest people likely to have had it are probably still in their sixties ?

    My aunt (94) caught TB in the mid 50s and had to go to a sanatorium where she met her husband.

  2. Otto K has a point. AFAIK Alzheimer’s is the normal loss of brain cells with age, accelerated a hundred times. It would be nice if an unintended consequence for once did not bite back. A lot of good science comes from noticing these oddities and investigating.

  3. BCG vaccination in the UK became mandatory in 1953 so we possibly have another 10+ years to go. My parents are in their 90’s and I don’t believe they had BCG vaccination and I do recall my mother mentioning childhood friends who died of TB.

  4. AndyF

    Thanks very much, I couldn’t find that useful snippet of information.

    When I speak to them next, I’ll ask my brothers, they were born in the mid 50s…

  5. Ottokring
    February 26, 2024 at 9:34 am
    Well, a way to go I think. When did the BCG become standard ? 1970s?

    I am 71, had a BCG in 2nd year in the mid-60s.

    Alzheimer’s can onset any time after age 60, in some cases before.

  6. I was born in 1944. The BCG team visited my London secondary school in my first year (Year 7 in modern). We all got tested. Having lived in Glasgow, I already had antibodies and didn’t need the jab. Given how painful my classmates found it, I was glad.

  7. “You’re missing a contemporary and comparable control group.”

    Not necessarily. BCG was never mandatory in Belgium, Italy, or the United States.

  8. John B

    Yep that adds up. My bro is only slightly younger and had his around 1966 or 67.

    Great, thanks to AndyF and JB for clearing that up for me.

    I shall keep a close eye on my bro and see if he goes doolally.

  9. I have a (probably bonkers but not insane) theory that BCG vaccination is somewhat protective against colon cancer, hence rates increasing amongst younger people now it is being phased out.

  10. I was born in 1937 and have never had the BCG vaccination,none of my sisters born in the 1940s had it either.
    All of us are still fully functioning mentally as was my mother who was still mentally active at 92.
    As far as I know none of my relatives have suffered Alzheimers or anything like it, so there may be an heredity thing also in play.

  11. There’s “an heredity thing” in play in almost all forms of illness. The interesting question is the degree to which it happens.

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