A rare neurofibromatosis that has killed more than 1,100 people across the world may be linked to athletes, according to a new study.
The disease, which has been identified only in China, has caused brain swelling, paralysis and brain damage to some of the world’s best-known athletes.
It has been linked to more than 3,000 athletes in a study published in The Lancet Neurology.
“I don’t think that there is any question that these athletes are suffering from neurofibrillary tangles that we see in other athletes, and that it’s not just a brain problem,” said Dr. Paul Hensch, a neurologist at the University of Pennsylvania who has studied the disease.
“And, of course, the problem is that this problem is not going away, it is going to get worse.”
In the study, Hensche and colleagues at Harvard Medical School in Boston looked at cases of the disease in athletes who competed in sports that require extreme exertion, such as marathon running or cycling.
The team found that more than 90 percent of athletes tested had symptoms of the disorder, and more than 95 percent had some level of functional impairment.
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“The symptoms that they’re reporting are not related to any neurological symptoms,” Henscher said.
“They’re symptoms that relate to muscle weakness.
They’re symptoms of weakness in one limb, which is a symptom of weakness.
And it’s a very common problem.
And they’re a very real symptom.”
He said the disease can be triggered by high levels of acetaminophen, an opioid painkiller.
In a study in The Journal of the American Medical Association, Hengsch said a patient with the disease showed up to the emergency room with elevated acetaminol levels, indicating that the patient may have an underlying illness.
“It’s a classic example of a common and deadly disease that affects a very large group of people,” he said.
“So I think that’s a big part of why this is so common, because we don’t have a good way of understanding the disease.”
Hensch said the study also found a “huge spike” in cases of neurologic illnesses in professional athletes who had played in recent Olympics.
In all, the researchers said, more than 70 athletes died of neurological diseases in this study.
Henscher and his colleagues wrote in the journal that the increased cases of athletes with the neurofIBROSID are not the result of the infection spreading in the community.
Instead, they say, they are the result in part of athletes using performance-enhancing drugs, such androstenedione, a steroid that increases blood flow to muscles.
The researchers said athletes who have taken anabolic steroids, such the anabolic-androgenic steroids, and those who took a combination of drugs may have been at greater risk of developing neurofUCI.
The study was funded by the National Institutes of Health and the U.S. Department of Defense.