As a people we seem to be fearful of many things. We are the most armed people in the world. We are also terrified of so much that many of us have a problem living normal lives. Perhaps nothings plays on people’s fear more than medical news that links one problem with another.

Last week scientists from the University of New Mexico School of Medicine, Brown University and the House Ear Institute in Los Angeles developed a new lab technique that helped them observe how herpes simplex virus type-a (HSV1) infections grow inside cells. HSV1 is a common virus that infects mucous membranes and causes cold sores. Most everyone of us has had one or more.

So what’s the big deal about cold sores? Well, the research strongly suggests that the scientists were able to see this virus burst out of the cells of a mucous membrane and enter nerve cells. What does this mean? Well, in theory this virus could travel to the brain and affect dementia plaques. Thus there is a perceived link between cold sores and Alzheimer’s disease. What these scientists were able to see in the lab strongly suggests that there is a causal link between this virus and the brain. What had been a “fringe theory” now has significant support.

What do these experts advise you to do?  Treat a cold sore quickly to minimize the time the virus is active. Well and good.

My question is different, however. I have always done this anyway. My question is what will this new threat mean to countless people who already worry about so much else? Will they find peace in God’s providence or choose to live in deeper fear of the next great threat?

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