Severe influenza is associated with greater odds of Parkinson’s disease, while measles reduces the odds of Parkinson’s disease, researchers reported in the July 2 online Movement Disorders. In this population-based, case-control study, the investigators examined 403 cases of Parkinson’s disease and 405 controls. Although there was an association between severe influenza and Parkinson’s disease (odds ratio, 2.01%), this effect was weaker when influenza reports were limited to those occurring 10 or more years before diagnosis. Conversely, childhood illness, particularly red measles (odds ratio, 0.65%), was associated with a lower risk of Parkinson’s disease. In addition, several animal exposures were linked with developing Parkinson’s disease, and these effects were statistically significant for exposure to cats (odds ratio, 2.06) and cattle (odds ratio, 2.23), the researchers noted.
Shift work is associated with an increased risk of vascular events such as heart attack and stroke, researchers reported in the July 26 online BMJ. The investigators conducted a meta-analysis of 34 studies that assessed risk ratios for vascular morbidity, vascular mortality, or all-cause mortality in relation to shift work. More than two million participants were included in the studies, in which 6,598 persons had myocardial infarctions, 17,359 had coronary events, and 1,854 had ischemic stroke. Results showed that shift work correlated with myocardial infarction (risk ratio,1.23), ischemic stroke (risk ratio, 1.05), and coronary events (risk ratio, 1.24), and these risks remained the same after adjustment for socioeconomic status and smoking. However, shift work was not associated with increased rates of overall mortality or mortality due to vascular causes.
Persons with higher levels of certain species of serum ceramides may have a greater risk of Alzheimer’s disease, according to research published in the online July 18 Neurology. The study included 99 women ages 70 to 79 who did not have dementia. Researchers recorded baseline levels of serum ceramides and sphingomyelins, as well as lipids, and followed the women for up to six visits over nine years, during which 27 women had incident dementia and 18 were diagnosed with probable Alzheimer’s disease. Analysis showed that higher baseline serum ceramides correlated with an increased risk of Alzheimer’s disease, while higher levels of sphingomyelins, total and high-density lipoprotein cholesterol, and triglycerides did not show a correlation with dementia or Alzheimer’s disease. The researchers noted that the study was preliminary and that the results warrant continued examination in larger studies.