News in brief: GBS case after AZ vaccine; Gene mutation linked to sporadic ALS; Neurologist starts CTE clinic for AFL players


17 Jun 2021

GBS another rare complication from COVID-19 vaccines

A Queensland woman has developed Guillain-Barre syndrome (GBS) after her COVID-19 AstraZeneca vaccination, according to a consumer media report.

“We are also monitoring reports of cardiac issues following vaccination with Comirnaty and reports of Guillain-Barre Syndrome following vaccination with the AstraZeneca vaccine, but no causal association with either vaccine has been established at this stage,” a TGA safety report said last month.

The rare condition is known to develop in some patients following infections or vaccinations.

For example, the TGA closely monitored the rate of GBS in the Australian community during the Panvax immunisation program in response to the swine flu pandemic in 2009-2010.

It concluded that there was no evidence of an increased rate of GBS in people receiving Panvax compared with that normally seen in the community.

Sporadic ALS linked to gene mutation

A novel gene called TP73 has been linked to an increased risk of developing sporadic ALS.

Researchers at the University of Utah in Salt Lake City used exome sequencing in more than 2900 people with  sporadic AS and found mutations in the gene TP73 in many cases. They also showed that TP73 gene mutations led to abnormal cell differentiation and increased cell death.

They also used CRISPR gene editing technology to remove the TP73 gene and found it led to impaired development of nerve cells, similar to what is seen in ALS.

“This discovery provides a new target for researchers working to develop therapies to slow or even stop the progression of ALS,”  they said

The findings are published in Neurology.

Neurologist to hold CTE clinics for AFL players

Sydney neurologist Dr Rowena Mobbs is to start holding monthly clinics in Adelaide for former AFL players who are concerned about their mental and cognitive health as a result of sustaining repeated concussions in the sport.

Dr Mobbs a senior lecturer and subspecialist in cognitive neurology at Macquarie Health who has an interest in sports concussion, will also consider whether the former footie players may be at risk of chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE).

She told The Advertiser that figures from US football players showed the risk of CTE doubled for every 2.6 years played.

The long-lasting detrimental effects of multiple concussions on brain degeneration have become an issue of concern in the AFL following the deaths of former players such as Shane Tuck in whom a post-mortem revealed he had CTE.

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