Avian influenza can cause a predisposition to Parkinson's disease, according to research linkurl:published;http://www.pnas.org/cgi/doi/10.1073/pnas.0900096106 this week in the __Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.__ "It's an exciting finding," said linkurl:Malu Tansey;http://www.pdonlineresearch.org/members/profiles/266 from Emory University School of Medicine, who was not involved in the research.
Influenza A virus
Image: Wikimedia Commons,
CDC, Erskine Palmer
Epidemiological studies done in the 1980s showed that survivors of the 1918 Spanish influenza, a pandemic that killed more than 50 million people worldwide, had a greater incidence of Parkinson's disease later in life than the linkurl:general population.;http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/6126720?ordinalpos=6&itool=EntrezSystem2.PEntrez.Pubmed.Pubmed_ResultsPanel.Pubmed_DefaultReportPanel.Pubmed_RVDocSum Recent studies have suggested that the currently circulating strain of avian influenza has similar pathology to the 1918 flu. Though the subtypes of the viruses are different (Spanish flu shares the H1N1 subtype with the current H1N1 swine flu, whereas avian influenza has an H5N1 subtype), both viruses appear to enter the central nervous system (CNS) and can cause...

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