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Can Swine Flu Alter Genes and Cause Autism, Alzheimer's and Schizophrenia?

Posted Jul 28 2009 10:11pm
A genetic epidemiological researcher who has worked in statistical genetics at the National Human Genome Research Institute/NIH, has posted an article Swine Flu Can Change Genes of Unborn at Blisstree.com suggesting that swine flu in pregnant women may change the genes of unborn children resulting in damage to the hippocampus. Grace Ibay points out that damage to the hippocampus is associated with a number of mental disorders including autism, Alzheimer’s and schizophrenia.

Ms Ibay refers to a study of pregnant mice injected with the swine flu (H1N1) virus published in the medical journal European Neuropsychopharmacology in which the newborn offspring had reduced hippocampus by 15% and 12 other altered genes. The journal article is Prenatal viral infection of mice at E16 causes changes in gene expression in hippocampi of the offspring in European Neuropsychopharmacology Volume 19, Issue 9, Pages 648-653 (September 2009).

The article abstract comments generally that the hippocampus governs memory formation and emotional regulation, that there is widespread evidence of hippocampal dysfunction in psychiatric disorders, including schizophrenia and autism and that there is abundant evidence that prenatal viral infection may play a role in development of schizophrenia and autism.

The abstract reports that the authors of the study, a research team led by S. Hossein Fatemi, of the University of Minnesota School of Medicine, observed:

"significant changes in gene expression in the offspring .... including a number of candidate genes for autism and schizophrenia ... qRT-PCR verified the direction and magnitude of change for 5 of the genes from the microarray data set and revealed mRNA changes for additional genes associated with schizophrenia and autism."

Ms Ibay, who is reported to be the mother of young children in addition to being a genetic epidemiological researcher, refers to this study as confirmation of the public health recommendation that pregnant women be vaccinated against the H1N1 (swine flu) virus. She makes no mention of any possible damage to the genetic makeup of unborn children that might result from injecting their mothers with the H1N1(swine flu)vaccine.

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