Association between human herpesvirus infections and dementia or mild cognitive impairment: a systematic review protocol.

Warren-Gash, C. ; Forbes, H. ; Breuer, J. ; Hayward, A.C. ; Mavrodaris, A. ; Ridha, B.H. ; Rossor, M. ; Thomas, S.L. ; Smeeth, L. ;
Association between human herpesvirus infections and dementia or mild cognitive impairment: a systematic review protocol.
BMJ Open, 2017; 7(6):e016522

Persisting neurotropic viruses are proposed to increase the risk of dementia, but evidence of association from robust, adequately powered population studies is lacking. This is essential to inform clinical trials of targeted preventive interventions.

We will carry out a comprehensive systematic review of published and grey literature of the association between infection with, reactivation of, vaccination against or treatment of any of the eight human herpesviruses and dementia or mild cognitive impairment. We will search the Cochrane Library, Embase, Global Health, Medline, PsycINFO, Scopus, Web of Science, clinical trials registers, the New York Academy of Medicine Grey Literature Report, Electronic Theses Online Service through the British Library and the ISI Conference Proceedings Citation Index for randomised controlled trials, cohort, caseâ€"control, case crossover or self-controlled case series studies reported in any language up to January 2017. Titles, abstracts and full-text screening will be conducted by two researchers independently. Data will be extracted systematically from eligible studies using a piloted template. We will assess risk of bias of individual studies in line with the Cochrane Collaboration tool. We will conduct a narrative synthesis, grouping studies by exposure and outcome definitions, and will describe any differences by population subgroups and dementia subtypes. We will consider performing meta-analyses if there are adequate numbers of sufficiently homogeneous studies. The overall quality of cumulative evidence will be assessed using selected Grading of Recommendations, Assessment, Development and Evaluations criteria.

As this is a review of existing studies, no ethical approval is required. Results will be disseminated through a peer-reviewed publication and at national and international conferences. We anticipate the review will clarify the current extent and quality of evidence for a link between herpesviruses and dementia, identify gaps and inform the direction of future research.

CRD42017054684.