It is common to change your lifestyle and habits as you get older to avoid certain health problems. But when it comes to Parkinson’s disease, a neurodegenerative disease that affects nearly a million people in the United States, according to the Parkinson Foundation, it may not be immediately clear what is increasing or decreases your chances. But doing one thing could increase your risk of developing Parkinson’s disease by 90%, a new study shows. Read on to see what could seriously increase your chances of getting a life-changing disease.
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A recent study published in JAMA Neurology used data from Danish healthcare databases which included 10,231 men and women diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease between 2000 and 2016. The researchers then carefully analyzed each patient’s information against 51,196 control patients by making them correspond by age and sex while following influenza infections dating back to all levels to 1977 thanks to the referencing of hospital records, The New York Times reports.
The analysis found that those who had contracted the flu at some point were 70% more likely to develop Parkinson’s disease within ten years than those who had never been infected with the virus. In 15 years, the probability has increased to 90 percent more likely.
The latest research comes after decades of speculation in the scientific community that there may be an association between Parkinson’s disease and getting the flu. Although it has been linked to genetics and certain environmental conditions such as exposure to toxic chemicals and pesticides, studies have also probed the noted increase in neurodegenerative disease diagnoses following the pandemic. of 1918 influenza. And due to the prolonged onset of illness, diagnosis can take much longer, making it difficult to research an association with influenza.
“The association may not be unique to influenza, but it is the infection that has attracted the most attention,” Noelle M. Cocoros, MPH, the study’s lead author and researcher at the Harvard Pilgrim Health Care Institute, said The temperature. “We also looked at other infections, and there are several specific ones – hepatitis C and others – that may be associated with Parkinson’s disease. But we didn’t have enough numbers to analyze them. “
Others speculated that the results could affect vaccines recommended to patients by their doctors. “There are many other great reasons to get the flu shot,” Cocoros said. “But if there is an association with Parkinson’s disease, vaccination would lower your risk. Nonetheless, it’s pretty obvious that Parkinson’s disease can be caused by many things. Infection can be one of many causes. . “
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The results of the study helped add evidence to the theory that inflammation caused by certain infections such as the flu could affect the central nervous system, leading to a higher likelihood of Parkinson’s disease. But the researchers were also cautious in pointing out that more work needed to be done before a definitive link between the two could be made.
“We have formulated our conclusions with the appropriate limits,” Cocoros said. The temperature. “This is not evidence of a causal link between influenza infection and Parkinson’s disease. Our study adds to a larger literature, and we should not overestimate the results.”
Besides a long theorized link to the flu, other research has looked at other possible early signs that a person might be at risk for developing Parkinson’s disease. For example, an oft-cited 2009 study published in Neurology looked to see if constipation may precede the onset of the cardinal motor symptoms of neurodegenerative disease, such as tremors and stiffness. The researchers looked at data from nearly 200 patients who developed the disease between 1976 and 1995, and 200 control subjects without Parkinson’s.
According to the study, patients with Parkinson’s disease were nearly twice as likely to have a history of constipation as those without, with the association evident decades before patients were officially released. diagnosed. “Indeed, the association remained significant when limited to constipation documented more than 20 years before the onset of Parkinson’s disease,” the researchers concluded.
“In Parkinson’s disease, constipation can be part of the disease process. [Parkinson’s disease, or PD,] can affect the autonomic nervous system, a network of nerves that directs bodily functions that we do not consciously control, such as blood pressure and digestion, ”the Michael J. Fox Parkinson Foundation says on its website. “When the movement of the digestive tract slows down in PD, constipation can happen. Recent research has also linked changes in gut bacteria (the microbiome) to Parkinson’s disease; these disturbances can contribute to constipation. “
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