AANS Neurosurgeon | Volume 26, Number 4, 2017

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Infection With Seasonal Flu May Increase Risk of Developing Parkinson’s Disease

Most cases of Parkinson’s have no known cause, and researchers continue to debate and study possible factors that may contribute to the disease. Research suggests that a certain strain of influenza virus predisposes mice to developing pathologies that mimic those seen in Parkinson’s disease. “This study has provided more evidence to support the idea that environmental factors, including influenza may be involved in Parkinson’s disease,” says Richard J. Smeyne, PhD, professor of neuroscience in the Sidney Kimmel Medical College at Thomas Jefferson University and director of the Jefferson Parkinson’s Disease Center in the Vickie and Jack Farber Institute for Neuroscience. “Here we demonstrate that even mice who fully recover from the H1N1 influenza virus responsible for the previous pandemic (also called ‘swine flu’) are later more susceptible to chemical toxins known to trigger Parkinson’s in the lab.”

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