Hepatitis C virus may be associated with a higher risk of developing Parkinson’s disease, a new study published in Neurology has shown. 

Researchers from China Medical University in Taichung, Taiwan, used the National Health Insurance Research Database of Taiwan to conduct the study. The study included 49,967 people with hepatitis and 199,868 people without hepatitis. Of the study patients, 71% had hepatitis B, 21% had hepatitis C, and 8% had both hepatitis B and C. 

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They were followed for an average of 12 years to observe the development of Parkinson’s disease. In patients with hepatitis, 270 developed Parkinson’s disease, of which 120 had hepatitis C. Among patients without hepatitis, 1,060 developed Parkinson’s disease.

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After controlling for factors such as age, sex, diabetes, and cirrhosis, researchers found that patients with hepatitis C had a 30% increased risk of developing Parkinson’s disease than those without hepatitis. Patients with hepatitis B or both viruses did not exhibit a higher or lower risk of developing Parkinson’s disease than those without hepatitis. More studies are warranted to investigate this specific link, researchers noted.

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