Can Covid-19 increase the risk of developing Parkinson’s?

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Author: Caithlin NgPublished: 21 May 2020

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Parkinson’s could be caused or modulated by infections like Covid-19, a new study suggests – though more evidence is needed to draw a definitive conclusion.

As part of the study, researchers from the Federal University of São Paulo, Brazil, drew on previous findings to support their hypothesis. For example, studies in mice have found that infection with some strains of influenza could cause neural changes similar to those in Parkinson’s.

Furthermore, people born during or around the 1918 influenza pandemic were over twice as likely to develop Parkinson’s than those born in the decades before or after.

Patrik Brundin, co-editor-in-chief of the Journal of Parkinson’s Disease, said that while it’s “too early to know what the long-term consequences of Covid-19 will be on the brain, the clinical psychiatry and neurology research communities definitely need to be vigilant in monitoring how those who recover from moderate and severe Covid-19 fare in the future.”

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