Flu linked to Parkinson’s

A bout of severe influenza doubles the odds that a person will develop Parkinson’s disease later in life, according to a new study by researchers from the University of British Columbia.

The findings are based on interviews with 403 Parkinson’s sufferers, and 405 healthy adults in British Columbia, Canada. The interviews showed that people who had suffered from severe influenza were twice as likely to develop Parkinson’s disease, and that people who had contracted red measles as children were 35 per cent less likely to develop Parkinson’s disease.

Currently there are no cures or preventions for Parkinson’s, in part because scientists still do not understand what causes the disease. Further studies are being undertaken by Anne Harris, the lead author of the research paper, to examine whether long-term exposure to occupational vibrations (such as operating construction equipment) or high-intensity vibrations (such as driving high-speed boats) has any affect on the risk of a person developing Parkinson’s disease.

To find out more you can read the original report Severe flu increases risk of Parkinson’s by the University of British Columbia.

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