Tobacco virus may be used to combat Parkinson’s disease

A tobacco crop affected by drought. Courier-Journal photo
by David R. Lutman.
University of Louisville researchers say a virus that attacks tobacco plants may be used to develop a vaccine for Parkinson’s disease.
The answer lies with the tobacco mosaic virus, which causes antibodies that “may be protective against Parkinson’s,” said Dr. Robert Friedland, a clinical and research neurologist at U of L.
Friedland’s findings come after more than 60 studies have shown that smokers seem to have a reduced risk for developing Parkinson’s, a motor system disorder that can cause tremors, stiffness and impaired balance. 
But Friedland and Dr. Honglei Chen, an investigator with the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences, part of the National Institutes of Health, warn the findings should not be considered an excuse to smoke. Friedland’s research is partly funded by the NIH, but not by any tobacco companies, reports Laura Ungar for The Courier-Journal. (Read more)
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