Interferon, HCV and Parkinson’s Disease research

Two years ago, I was given an abstract for this study: 

Parkinsonism in Patients With Chronic Hepatitis C Treated With Interferons: Case Reports and Review of the Literature

Wangensteen, Kirk J. MD, PhD*; Krawitt, Edward L. MD; Hamill, Robert W. MDBoydJames T. MD

Clinical Neuropharmacology: January/February 2016 – Volume 39 – Issue 1 – p 1–5

The full text is not free to read but librarians can get a copy for you.  Veterans’ representatives like Alex can probably obtain a copy for their veterans’ health topics files by emailing Dr. Boyd (UVMMC-VT).

This work has not received enough attention in the form of citations and shares (LINK) but in general we now know that not only does HCV injure the central nervous system (CNS-brain and spinal cord), but the interferons to kill the viral devils cause damage too.

So, if a Marine served in Vietnam (eating Agent Orange), and was infected with HCV (non-A-non-B) in any myriad number of routes, and drank Camp Lejeune’s toxic water, and was later treated for a year with interferons, PD and it’s closely related conditions, are not something that some physicians link together–because they don’t know.  Just one exposure is enough to cause PD, but in the case I list above, you have a powerful triple whammy + 1 (the cure) hit.  Additional toxic exposures are also likely.

I’ve never seen a new patient intake form ask about military service in the non-VA world.  (Have you?) Problem lists can be a mess but verified service in Vietnam should be noted on them as a separate line!  (I say verified because people like Sen. Richard Blumenthal might lie on forms about their military service.)


Interferons are a set of cytokines that activate antiviral responses by the body’s immune cells and have been a mainstay of treatment of hepatitis C. Well-known neuropsychiatric effects of interferons include depression, irritability, and impaired concentration. A condition reported rarely in association with this treatment is parkinsonism.

We report 2 patients who developed parkinsonism in conjunction with treatment of hepatitis C with alpha interferons. The first is a 51-year-old man who developed intermittent rest and postural tremor during treatment with pegylated interferon alpha ribavirin, and amantadine, with resolution of the symptoms after completing a 36-week course. Similar tremor recurred 3 years later with progressive parkinsonism, compatible with Parkinson disease (PD).

The second patient is a 71-year-old man who developed postural tremor 8 weeks into a regimen of consensus interferon. Tremor resolved at completion of 48 weeks of interferon. Pegylated interferon alpha and ribavirin were started 2 years later because of lack of sustained virologic response. At 24 weeks of treatment, postural tremor returned along with features and a progressive course compatible with PD.

Thus, both patients presented here developed (rest and/or postural) tremor during interferontherapy followed by delayed onset of parkinsonism. We identified 10 other cases in the literature of parkinsonism/PD associated with interferon administration. This report reviews the clinical presentation and potential pathophysiological mechanisms and recommends that physicians who prescribe interferon be vigilant for symptoms of PD in their patients.

Toxins and more toxins

Gulf War vets are getting cancers.  I’ve met one who had a tumor removed from his neck.  He’s able to work as a policeman but he’s worried about his future.  My son recently met a young former airman from CT in the waiting area at WRJ-VT VA hospital.  He served in the Gulf.  He had an unusual cancer from toxic exposures and is 100% disabled.  An aside: This vet’s free ride service had stranded him there because he was late getting out of his appointment.  He sobbed.  My son told him that he couldn’t drive him to CT that night but he wished he could.  Then the VA arranged to put him up in a hotel overnight.

Serum metals tests?

Global metal mining pollution is terrible.  We recycle every bit of aluminum we use.  In MN we sold odd bits of metal to scrap yards so it could be reused.  The Chinese export their cheap aluminum in their products and they don’t care about the health of their workers. We shouldn’t buy cheap things made with Chinese metals if possible.  Buying things made of recycled aluminum is controversial (Treehugger article link) because the demand for virgin aluminum is goes up.  I still strongly support recycling metals, keeping batteries out of landfills, and anything that will reduce toxic chemicals exposures.  As for routine serum metals tests, some powerful groups don’t want us to know what’s swirling around inside.  Expect to pay out-of-pocket.

Kiedove  (Guest Author)

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Add: in-service toxic exposures Click image to see Atlantic photo essay on nasty Hungarian aluminum toxic spill

About Laura

NW Vermont.
This entry was posted in All about Veterans, AO, Camp Lejeune poisoning, Food for thought, Future Veterans, General Messages, Guest authors, Gulf War Issues, HCV Health, HCV Risks (documented), Interferon claims, non-va care, research, Uncategorized, VA Agents, Vietnam Disease Issues and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

12 Responses to Interferon, HCV and Parkinson’s Disease research

  1. Malcolm H. Melancon Jr. says:

    Yes, and I cant get disability because they said the interferon cured me.

    • Kiedove says:

      Sorry to hear that.

      Another project for another day–a list of known interferon long-term adverse effects. VA didn’t want to test for HCV after his interferon cure for occult HCV after a few years. Private docs have tested him however. He doesn’t have HCV hiding in tissues as far as we know but the effects of the cure linger.
      If you can prove secondary effects, you might be able to win.

  2. SPrice says:

    I’ll get the full text Kiedove.

  3. Yes, regrettably I would concur with Jack, Rick and Sherry Wood and Kiedove regarding V.A. Health, Choice and what-not. Ironically the same V.A. that required Choice as a panacea is also the SAME governmental agency totally in charge of disbursing this same Choice which as another Vietnam-era vet has been as elusive as the Cobra.

  4. Kiedove says:

    Yes–I read the Hartford Courant. They said CT has forgiven him about his “mistakes”….etc..keywords “Vietnam and Blumenthal” will show you how they protect him. It’s really something.

  5. Sherry says:

    My name is Sherry and I have been following posts for a couple years now and have learned and used a great deal of your teachings.
    I and my husband have found ourselves in big financial trouble since we accidently found out the “Choice Program” has been changed to “Community Care”. They decided to decline payment for my husband’s five day hospital visit via an EKG that looked like a heart attack.
    We are completely lost and have been booted around the VA and all medical departments involved. Totally exhausting and frightening to have this sudden change.
    If you can help or know where we can seek assistance we would be so grateful.
    Rick and Sherry

    • sherry7006 says:

      Please let me know if you get this as I keep getting sent to WordPress to set up a website or address.
      My husband and I could sure use some help with advice possible.
      I have been receiving your emails for a couple years now and it’s been very very educational. We have found ourselves in another pickle with the VA but this one is massively expensive and we are frightened and have no idea where to turn.
      Thank you in advance for your time and responding.
      We sure could use some help with advice as we keep getting shoved from VA dept. To the next.
      Rick and Sherry Wood

    • Kiedove says:

      Hi Sherry, A while be back I wrote a post(s) about emergency care. The name of the non-va care program shouldn’t matter if the VA is responsible. A Mr. Staab took this to court and won but because of the new lousy rule, VA doesn’t have to pay ER claims before April 8, 2016 for some claims. When was your husband admitted?

      “VA will not retroactively pay benefits
      for claims filed under § 17.1002(f) that
      were finally denied before April 8, 2016,
      the date of the Staab decision. In other
      words, VA can only apply the new
      § 17.1002(f) to claims pending on or
      after April 8, 2016.”

      My most recent post is here:
      However, your husband can still appeal I’m pretty sure but will have to ask Alex (NOD).
      In anycase, you are one of tens of thousands of veteran families who have been given the shaft–and community hospitals–so I would not panic.

      Going forward, if you can afford to buy the cheapest premium Medicare Advantage plan during this open enrollment period, I would do it because the VA can’t be trusted in cases of emergency. If you don’t think you can afford, Medicare may pay your premium.

      If your husband was admitted to the hospital, he was in an emergency situation.

      I’ll check back to see what you say about the date Rick was in the hospital.

    • Kiedove says:

      Another quick thought–The private hospital would have notified the nearest VA hospital within a certain amount of hours when Rick was admitted; they would have discussed moving him by ambulance there. The VA probably would have that right but it must have been mutually decided that it was not safe to move him. You are going to have to find out what procedures/protocols the priv ate hospital followed and the VA’s response.
      In writing, mailed priority with signature required to the hospital first. If an ambulance transported him, you’ll want their notes too.
      If finance didn’t call the VA, when they should have, they may have to eat the charges–not you. A money person always asks the patient about the source of payment–in this case VA for ER care. You have the right to expect that they will follow protocol because you are in a crisis situation and don’t know how this VA-private care so called partnership thing is supposed to work.

  6. Jack Stermer says:

    I don’t get how anyone – particularly a US Senator- can be so stupid to think they can say something like “I served in Vietnam” when it’s so easy to prove they didn’t. It’s the perfect WTF conundrum. But then again, falsely bragging about one’s military service doesn’t seem quite as disgusting to this Vietnam Vet as degrading the sacrifices made by our POWs. In any case, it should be no mystery why the VA is AFU.

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