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Severe flu increases risk of Parkinson's: research

(Xinhua)

08:43, July 24, 2012

VANCOUVER, July 20 (Xinhua) -- Severe flu could double a person's odds to develop Parkinson's disease later in life, a new research shows.

The study, conducted by researchers from Canada's University of British Columbia, was published in the latest online version of Movement Disorders.

Based on interviews with 403 Parkinson's patients and 405 healthy people in British Columbia, the researchers also found people who contracted red measles as children were 35 percent less likely to develop Parkinson's.

"There are no cures or prevention programs for Parkinson's, in part because we still don't understand what triggers it in some people and not others," said lead author Anne Harris.

"This kind of painstaking epidemiological detective work is crucial in identifying the mechanisms that might be at work, allowing the development of effective prevention strategies," Harris added, referring to the study.

Parkinson's disease is a nerve system disorder marked by slowness of movement, shaking, stiffness, and in the later stages, loss of balance.

Although some cases are genetic in origin, the cause for most cases of the disease is still unknown. Possible explanations include repeated head trauma, or exposure to viruses or chemical compounds.

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