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Hepatitis B, Hepatitis C Infection and Parkinson's Disease Linked [VIDEO]

Update Date: Mar 31, 2017 10:02 AM EDT

A new study has found a link, not only with hepatitis B, but also of hepatitis C infection and Parkinson's disease. Research previously done in Taiwan did not find hepatitis C virus as a risk factor for Parkinson's disease.

Between 1999 and 2011, a database from UK hospitals yielded records of 22,000 patients with hepatitis B, 48,000 with hepatitis C, 4,000 with chronic active hepatitis, and 6,000 with autoimmune hepatitis. Human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) cases were fewer than 20,000. There were over 6 million patients who did not have serious conditions.

Compared to the general population, the cases involving HIV, chronic active hepatitis, and autoimmune hepatitis did not have a greater likelihood to develop Parkinson's. However, the study demonstrated a link between hepatitis C infection and Parkinson's disease.

People infected with hepatitis C had 51 percent risk of developing Parkinson's while the increased risk between the latter and hepatitis B was as high as 76 percent.

Lead researcher Julia Pakpoor, BM, BCh, of the University of Oxford explained that the relationship between the two could be attributed to the hepatitis virus, the treatment for the infection or a greater vulnerability to hepatitis infection leading to susceptibility to Parkinson's disease.

How the hepatitis B and C viruses are transmitted vary. The former is passed from an infected person to another through blood and bodily fluids. Hepatitis C requires blood-to-blood contact for transmission to occur.

It is unclear why there was a link between these infections and Parkinson's but the findings may pave the way for further research into understanding how Parkinson's disease develops, EurekAlert reported.

Studies have been done to find more effective forms of treatment for Parkinson's. In 2011, a clinical trial of gene therapy for Parkinson's disease showed encouraging results. After getting injected with gene therapy into the brain, the patients' conditions showed some improvement with respect to tremor, stiffness and related movement symptoms. It also appeared safe, according to WebMD.

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