Hepatitis B and C may be linked to increased risk of Parkinson's disease

March 29, 2017, American Academy of Neurology
Immunohistochemistry for alpha-synuclein showing positive staining (brown) of an intraneural Lewy-body in the Substantia nigra in Parkinson's disease. Credit: Wikipedia

The viruses hepatitis B and C may both be associated with an increased risk of Parkinson's disease, according to a study published in the March 29, 2017, online issue of Neurology, the medical journal of the American Academy of Neurology. The hepatitis virus affects the liver.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), it is estimated that anywhere from 850,000 to 2.2 million people in the United States have chronic B virus infection and anywhere from 2.7 to 3.9 million people have chronic hepatitis C. While both can lead to serious illness, many people have few symptoms and do not realize they have the virus, especially at first.

Hepatitis B is spread through contact with blood and body fluids of an infected person, such as unprotected sex, sharing needles, getting a tattoo or piercing with unsterilized tools or sharing razors or toothbrushes with an infected person.

Hepatitis C is spread through blood-to-blood contact such as sharing needles, razors and toothbrushes and is passed on at birth by infected mothers.

"The development of Parkinson's disease is complex, with both genetic and environmental factors," said study author Julia Pakpoor, BM, BCh, of the University of Oxford in the United Kingdom. "It's possible that the itself or perhaps the treatment for the infection could play a role in triggering Parkinson's disease or it's possible that people who are susceptible to hepatitis infections are also more susceptible to Parkinson's disease. We hope that identifying this relationship may help us to better understand how Parkinson's disease develops."

For the study, researchers examined hospital records from a large British database. They looked for records of people with a first case of hepatitis B, hepatitis C, , chronic active hepatitis and HIV from 1999 to 2011. Then those people were compared to the hospital records of people with relatively minor conditions such as cataract surgery, bunions and knee replacement surgery. For all of the participants, researchers looked at the records to see who later developed Parkinson's disease.

There were nearly 22,000 people with hepatitis B, 48,000 with hepatitis C, 6,000 with autoimmune hepatitis, 4,000 with chronic active hepatitis and nearly 20,000 with HIV. They were compared to more than 6 million people with minor conditions.

The study found that people with hepatitis B were 76 percent more likely to develop Parkinson's disease than those in the comparison group, and people with hepatitis C were 51 percent more likely to develop Parkinson's disease. A total of 44 people with hepatitis B developed Parkinson's disease, compared to 25 cases that would be expected in the general population. For people with hepatitis C, 73 people developed Parkinson's disease, where about 49 cases would have been expected in the .

People with autoimmune hepatitis, chronic active hepatitis and HIV did not have an increased rate of Parkinson's disease.

A previous study from Taiwan showed a relationship between hepatitis C and Parkinson's disease, but it did not show any relationship for hepatitis B.

Pakpoor said that limitations of the current study include that they could not adjust for lifestyle factors such as smoking and alcohol use, which could affect Parkinson's disease risk, and that the study was based solely on people who were evaluated at a hospital.

Explore further: Hepatitis C tied to increased risk of Parkinson's

Related Stories

Hepatitis C tied to increased risk of Parkinson's

December 24, 2015
The hepatitis C virus may be associated with an increased risk of developing Parkinson's disease, according to a study published in the December 23, 2015, online issue of Neurology, the medical journal of the American Academy ...

Drug for one hepatitis type may activate another: watchdog

December 2, 2016
Drugs against one type of hepatitis may activate another, sometimes with fatal consequences, Europe's medicines watchdog warned on Friday.

Latest research shows Australia on track to cure hepatitis C

February 21, 2017
More Australians have been treated for hepatitis C in the past 12 months than the last decade combined, following the listing of a new generation therapy on the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme.

Hepatitis C kills more Americans than HIV: study

February 23, 2012
More Americans died in 2007 of hepatitis C infection, which causes incurable liver disease, than from the virus that causes AIDS, US health authorities said this week.

New test IDs genotype of hepatitis C

June 20, 2013
(HealthDay)—A new test to help doctors identify the genotype of a person's hepatitis C infection has been approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.

Hepatitis A hospitalizations down from 2002 to 2011

January 29, 2015
(HealthDay)—From 2002 to 2011 there was a decrease in the rate of hospitalizations for hepatitis A, according to a study published in the February issue of Hepatology.

Recommended for you

The eyes may have it, an early sign of Parkinson's disease

August 16, 2018
The eyes may be a window to the brain for people with early Parkinson's disease. People with the disease gradually lose brain cells that produce dopamine, a substance that helps control movement. Now a new study has found ...

First-of-its-kind Parkinson's biomarker guidelines invigorates drive for treatments

August 15, 2018
Parkinson's disease affects more than 4 million people worldwide, with numbers projected to double in the next few decades. With no known cure, there is a race for treatments to slow or stop the progression of the disease. ...

Study identifies chaperone protein implicated in Parkinson's disease

August 13, 2018
Reduced levels of a chaperone protein might have implications for the development and progression of neurodegenerative diseases such as Parkinson's disease and Lewy body dementia, according to new research from investigators ...

Function of gene mutations linked to neurological diseases identified

August 10, 2018
Several gene mutations have been linked to Parkinson's disease, but exactly how and where some of them cause their damage has been unclear. A new Yale study, published in the Journal of Cell Biology, shows that one of the ...

Biomarkers link fatigue in cancer, Parkinson's

August 9, 2018
Biological markers responsible for extreme exhaustion in patients with cancer have now been linked to fatigue in those with Parkinson's disease, according to new research from Rice University.

Researchers examining Parkinson's resilience

August 2, 2018
Diseases have a spectrum of risk, even those partially embedded in genes such as Parkinson's disease.

1 comment

Adjust slider to filter visible comments by rank

Display comments: newest first

travispaul309
1 / 5 (1) Mar 29, 2017


My grandma has Parkinson's disease, she is about 75 years old it was detected 7 years ago. it was very difficult to live for her, because of stiff muscles she can't even move. L-dopa and carbidopa medicines are given, but won"t give much relief. She can"t eat food and the skin is damaging forming ganglia.my friend introduced me to perfecthealthherbalmedicine,he said perfecthealthherbalmedicine cure his father of Parkinson and COPD,so i decided to give it a try,so i emailed them,they replied and ask for my grandma details,which i sent to them via email:(perfecthealthherbalmedicine @ gmail .com)

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.