Research out of Tulane University shows that respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) may cause nerve damage. In the past the virus was thought to only infect the lungs and airways. This new study builds on growing evidence that RSV can harm nerves and damage the brain. The experiment demonstrated the biological mechanisms through which the virus disrupts the nervous system. These findings may explain how the virus is found in the spinal fluid of children who suffer from seizures and why 4 in 10 children under 2 years old who have RSV experience brain damage. Until this study, the theory was that the inflammatory response was indirectly activating the nerves,” said Dr. Giovanni Piedimonte, the vice president for research and a professor of pediatrics, biochemistry and molecular biology at Tulane University. “This study shows that not only does that happen, but the virus can penetrate directly into the nerves.” When the virus invades nerve cells, it causes them to be hyperactive. This process may explain why kids with RSV more often develop asthma when the grow older. This report highlights the importance of protecting your child with preventive antibodies and RSV vaccines.
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