by Tannara Yelland — CUP Prairies & Northern Bureau Chief
University of Alberta researchers have pioneered a breakthrough in the fight against hepatitis C.
It has long been known that the disease attacks the liver, causing insulation and cirrhosis of the liver and eventually liver cancer if left long enough. However, after just under two years of research, Christopher Power’s team of researchers have discovered that hepatitis C is also a disease of the brain.
“We’ve known for a long time patients who have hepatitis C have symptoms of poor concentration, poor memory, sense of apathy, fatigue – pointing to problems with the brain as well,” said Power.
This discovery could lead to new forms of treatment and, possibly, to the development of a vaccine or even a cure, said Power.
Power said the importance of his team’s research is “two-fold: It raises awareness of brain problems in people with hep C infection. Often neurological problems are ignored in people with other medical problems.
“It also provides some understanding for moving forward to develop new treatments to stop the virus getting into the brain, or maybe even to develop a vaccine – a vaccine would be great.”