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Pathogenic flu 'can increase chances of Parkinson's'

Pathogenic flu 'can increase chances of Parkinson's'
12th August 2009

People who have survived bird flu or other strains of influenza may have other hurdles to overcome in later life, if new research from the US is to be believed.

Dr Richard Smeynea and his colleagues, working for St Jude Children's Research Hospital in Memphis, Tennessee, looked into the effects on the functioning quality of the brain following such conditions.

He told the press: "Our results suggest a pandemic H5N1 pathogen, or other neurotropic influenza virus, could initiate central nervous system disorders of protein aggregation including Parkinson's and Alzheimer's diseases."

The results were published in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences this month.

However, there is no evidence linking the current H1N1 strain - also known as swine flu - to similar outcomes, though it has been understood to lead to multiple organ failure in several cases.

The latest high-profile victim of swine flu is Costa Rican president Oscar Arias, who continues to work despite a fever and sore throat.

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