July 28 is World Hepatitis Day and so to give you a heads start on hepatitis information we compiled some of our news stories not only discussing hepatitis but other health problems and factors too including fibromyalgia, Zika virus, liver inflammation, cardiovascular disease and stroke.
For World Hepatitis Day the World Health Organization (WHO) urges policy-makers, health workers and the public on preventing infection and death related to hepatitis. Viral hepatitis affects millions of people worldwide and although it can cause death it is a very preventable infection.
The below roundup of articles will help you learn more about hepatitis from what it is to how you can prevent it from yourself and those around you.
Fibromyalgia incidences higher in patients with hepatitis B virus infection
Fibromyalgia incidences are higher in patients with the hepatitis B virus (HBV) infection. Hepatitis B infection is a potentially life-threatening illness, which primarily affects the liver and can be acute or chronic. Previous research has revealed higher fibromyalgia rates among those with hepatitis B infection.
For the study, the researchers looked at 118 hepatitis B patients who were divided into three groups: HBV carriers, chronic active HBV patients, and patients who had been treated with antiretroviral therapy for at least three months. Sixty age- and gender-matched healthy individuals were also assessed as a control group.
The serum levels of the liver enzyme aspartate aminotransferase and alanine aminotransferase were found to be much higher in HBV patients – which points to liver damage – compared to the control group. Characteristic fibromyalgia symptoms were also found to be more prevalent among HBV patients.
Further to these findings, the researchers concluded that fibromyalgia incidences are indeed higher among HBV patients and that hepatitis B should be.
The researchers concluded that fibromyalgia incidences are indeed higher among HBV patients and that hepatitis B may be considered an independent predictor of the condition. Continue reading…
Zika virus development slowed by experimental hepatitis C antiviral drug: Study
Zika virus development can be slowed down by experimental hepatitis C antiviral drug. Professor Johan Neyts explained, “The Zika virus is transmitted by the tiger mosquito. Roughly twenty percent of the people who are infected actually get sick. The most common symptoms, which last about a week, are fever, fatigue, joint and muscle pain, rash, and red eyes. A small number of infected people go on to develop Guillain-Barré Syndrome, which causes muscle weakness and temporary paralysis. In some cases, the patient needs to be put on a ventilator.”
“The biggest cause for concern is that pregnant women with the infection can pass on the virus to the fetus. As a result, some babies are born with microcephaly, a disorder of the central nervous system whereby the child’s skull and brain are too small. In severe cases, these children grow up with serious physical and mental disabilities,” Neyts continued.
“As the Zika virus is related to the hepatitis C virus, we examined whether some inhibitors of the hepatitis C virus also prevent the multiplication of the Zika virus in human cells. We have identified at least one experimental drug that is effective against the Zika virus. We used mice with a defect in their innate immune system. When these mice are infected with the Zika virus, they develop a number of the symptoms that we also see in human patients. Treating the infected mice with the hepatitis C virus inhibitor resulted in a clear delay in virus-induced symptoms,” Neyts continued.
He concluded, “The experimental hepatitis C inhibitor is not very powerful yet. Nevertheless, our study opens up important new possibilities. We can now start testing the effectiveness of other promising virus inhibitors and vaccines against the Zika virus.” Continue reading…
Hepatitis C infection increases risk of cardiovascular disease (CVD), stroke, and liver damage
Hepatitis C infection increases the risk of cardiovascular disease (CVD), stroke, and liver damage. Hepatitis C infection can severely damage the liver, but new findings from Johns Hopkins revealed that it can also mean dangers for the heart as well.
The findings came from a large ongoing study of men who had sex with men, but not all were infected with HIV. The men were followed to observe progression and risk of disease. A subgroup of the men had both HIV and hepatitis C, two conditions that are commonly seen together.
The men with HIV already had an increased risk of heart disease, but the researchers were interested to examine whether hepatitis C could lead to the same risks.
The researchers found that those with hepatitis C were more likely to have abnormal fat and calcium plaques in their arteries – atherosclerosis – which is a risk factor for heart disease.
Principal investigator Eric Seaberg said, “We have strong reason to believe that infection with hepatitis C fuels cardiovascular disease, independent of HIV, and sets the stage for subsequent cardiovascular trouble. We believe our findings are relevant to anyone infected with hepatitis C, regardless of HIV status.”
Although the researchers are unsure how or why hepatitis C infection increases plaque buildups in the arteries, they stress that those patients with hepatitis C should be closely monitored for heart disease risk factors.
Study author Wendy Post said, “People infected with hepatitis C are already followed regularly for signs of liver disease, but our findings suggest clinicians who care for them should also assess their overall cardiac risk profile regularly.” She added that these patients would benefit from annual cardiac testing and evaluation and have their lifestyle habits assessed. They could be putting their hearts at greater risk, for instance, if they are eating poorly and are sedentary. Continue reading…
Hepatitis liver inflammation reduced by specific immune cells
Hepatitis liver inflammation may be reduced by specific immune cells. A new study from Belgium researchers reports that a specific immune cell type in the liver can dampen the immune response, reduce inflammation, and protect against liver damage.
Researchers at Vrije Universiteit Brussel, Belgium used mice to explore monocytes’ role – immune cells that help fight off infection – in combating liver inflammation. In the case of the mice, the researchers focused on trypanosome parasites because they often lead to liver inflammation.
There are two types of monocytes: Ly6c positive monocytes and Ly6c negative monocytes.
When the mice were infected with trypanosome parasites, initially more Ly6c positive monocytes travelled to the infected liver, but the Ly6c negative monocytes did follow as well.
The researchers found the Ly6c positive monocytes actually increased inflammation and promoted liver damage, while the Ly6c negative monocytes reduced the inflammation and prevented further liver damage. This goes to show that Ly6c negative monocytes can work as liver protection.
Researchers now say a means for preventing liver inflammation can result from changing Ly6c negative monocytes in the body. A therapy would either increase their number or function to protect the liver. Continue reading…
Hepatitis C becoming number one infectious killer: CDC
Hepatitis C is becoming the number one infectious killer, according to the CDC. In the U.S. alone, hepatitis C-related deaths hit a high in 2014, and it presently kills more Americans than any other infectious disease. In 2014, there were 19,659 hepatitis C-related deaths.
Dr. Jonathan Mermin from the CDC said in a news release, “Why are so many Americans dying of this preventable, curable disease? Once hepatitis C testing and treatment are as routine as they are for high cholesterol and colon cancer, we will see people living the long, healthy lives they deserve.”
If hepatitis C is not treated, patients are at an increased risk of liver cancer along with other life-threatening diseases. Furthermore, patients can unknowingly infect others. Continue reading…