The hepatitis B and C viruses may lead to an increased risk of Parkinson’s disease, a new study claims.
Scientists say people who have been affected by either virus are up to 75 percent more likely to develop the neurological condition.
Based on recent research, one of the viruses’ manifestations outside the liver may include Parkinson’s disease.
Because the nervous system is already a known target of the virus once it leaves the liver, this may lead to a Parkinson’s diagnosis.
The CDC estimates that between 850,000 and 2.2 million people in the US are infected with chronic hepatitis B while between 2.7 million and 3.9 million people have chronic hepatitis C.
Hepatitis B is spread through contact with blood and bodily fluids of an infected person, such as unprotected sex, sharing needles, getting a tattoo or piercing with unsterilized tools or sharing razors or toothbrushes with an infected person.
Hepatitis C is spread through blood-to-blood contact such as sharing needles, razors and toothbrushes and can be passed on at birth by infected mothers.
While both can lead to serious illness, many people have few symptoms and do not realize they have the virus, especially at first.The study, conducted by the University of Oxford in the UK, looked at records of nearly 100,000 people, from the English National Hospital Episode Statistics, with a first case of hepatitis B, hepatitis C, autoimmune hepatitis, chronic active hepatitis and HIV from 1999 to 2011.Parkinson’s disease is a progressive neurological disease.
It develops gradually, sometimes starting with a barely noticeable tremor in just one hand.But while a tremor may be the most well-known sign of the condition, it also commonly causes stiffness or slowing of movement.
Signs and symptoms:Between seven and 10 million people globally have the disease.
Of those, the majority of cases have no known cause although scientist suspect a mix of genetic, epigenetic and environmental factors.Parkinson’s disease can’t be cured, but medications can help control your symptoms, often dramatically. In some later cases, surgery may be advised.Source: Mayo Clinic
For all of the participants, researchers looked at the records to see who later developed Parkinson’s disease.
The study found that people with hepatitis B were 76 percent more likely to develop Parkinson’s disease and people with hepatitis C were 51 percent more likely.
A total of 44 people with hepatitis B developed Parkinson’s disease, compared to 25 cases that would be expected in the general population.For people with hepatitis C, 73 people developed Parkinson’s disease, where about 49 cases would have been expected in the general population.
‘The development of Parkinson’s disease is complex, with both genetic and environmental factors,’ said study author Dr Julia Pakpoor from the University of Oxford.
And while the researchers are not sure what the exact connection is between the virus and Parkinson’s, they have some speculations.
‘It’s possible that the hepatitis virus itself or perhaps the treatment for the infection could play a role in triggering Parkinson’s disease or it’s possible that people who are susceptible to hepatitis infections are also more susceptible to Parkinson’s disease,’ Dr Pakpoor said.’We hope that identifying this relationship may help us to better understand how Parkinson’s disease develops.’
People with autoimmune hepatitis, chronic active hepatitis and HIV did not have an increased rate of Parkinson’s.
A December 2015 study from Taiwan found a relationship between hepatitis C and Parkinson’s disease, but it did not show any relationship for hepatitis B.
Being infected with the viruses hepatitis B or C may increase the risk of developing Parkinson’s disease, a new study reveals b-error