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The Link Between Hep C and Parkinson’s Disease

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Pending further study results, Parkinson’s might be added as a possible extrahepatic manifestation of chronic Hepatitis C.

Parkinson’s Disease

Parkinson’s disease is a progressive disorder of the nervous system that impairs movement. Many may be familiar with the well-known actor who has lived with Parkinson’s for decades in the public eye, Michael J. Fox. In Parkinson’s disease, certain nerve cells in the brain gradually break down or die. Many of the symptoms are due to a loss of nerve cells that produce a chemical messenger in the brain called dopamine. When dopamine levels decrease, it causes abnormal brain activity, leading to signs of Parkinson’s disease.

The three most common motor symptoms of Parkinson’s include:

  1. Bradykinesia – slowness of movement
  2. Rigidity – unusual stiffness in a limb or other body part
  3. Resting tremor – uncontrollable movement of a limb or body part when it is at rest

In addition to these motor-related symptoms, some additional signs of Parkinson’s include:

  • Cognitive impairment
  • Depression and anxiety
  • REM sleep problems
  • Constipation
  • Speech and swallowing difficulties

The exact causes of Parkinson’s are unclear. Nonetheless, past studies imply that it may be triggered by a combination of environmental and genetic factors.

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http://hcvadvocate.org/hepatitis/factsheets_pdf/extrahepatic.pdf, Extrahepatic Manifestation of HCV, Alan Franciscus, Retrieved February 7, 2016, Hepatitis C Support Project, 2016.

http://www.clevelandclinicmeded.com/medicalpubs/diseasemanagement/neurology/parkinsons-disease/, Parkinson’s Disease, Patrick Sweeney, Retrieved February 7, 2016, The Cleveland Clinic Foundation, 2016.

http://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/parkinsons-disease/basics/causes/con-20028488, Parkinson’s Disease, Retrieved February 7, 2016, Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research, 2016.

http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/304405.php, Hepatitis C may raise risk for Parkinson's, Honor Whiteman, Retrieved February 3, 2016, MediLexicon International, Ltd, 2016.

http://www.medscape.com/viewarticle/852066, Hepatitis C Virus Infection: A Risk Factor for Parkinson's Disease, W. Y-Y, Wu, et al, Retrieved February 3, 2016, Journal of Viral Hepatology, 2015.

https://www.michaeljfox.org/understanding-parkinsons/living-with-pd/topic.php?symptoms, Parkinson’s Disease Symptoms, Retrieved February 7, 2016, The Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson’s Research, 2016.

https://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/news/fullstory_156376.html, Hepatitis C May Be Tied to Greater Risk for Parkinson's Disease, Mary Elizabeth Dallas, Retrieved February 3, 2016, US National Library of Medicine, 2016.

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