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Undercooked Chicken Can Cause Stroke—Research

By Modupe Gbadeyanka

A new research has warned that eating undercooked chicken could trigger Guillain-Barre Syndrome (GBS) commonly called paralysis.

According to the study carried out by a Michigan State University research team, there is a common bacterium found in improperly cooked chicken causes GBS.

The latest research now published in the Journal of Autoimmunity, demonstrates how this food-borne bacterium, known as Campylobacter jejuni, triggers GBS.

“What our work has told us is that it takes a certain genetic makeup combined with a certain Campylobacter strain to cause this disease,” said Linda Mansfield, lead author and MSU College of Veterinary Medicine professor. “The concerning thing is that many of these strains are resistant to antibiotics and our work shows that treatment with some antibiotics could actually make the disease worse.”

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GBS is the world’s leading cause of acute neuromuscular paralysis in humans and despite much speculation, the exact mechanisms of how this autoimmune disease develops have been widely unknown.

According to, “paralysis is a loss of muscle function in part of your body. It can be temporary or permanent. The most common causes are stroke, spinal cord injury, and multiple sclerosis.”

However, the team has offered new information for a cure for the disease.

“We have successfully produced three preclinical models of GBS that represent two different forms of the syndrome seen in humans,” Mansfield said. “Our models now provide a unique opportunity to understand how your personal genetic type may make you more susceptible to certain forms of GBS.”

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In the research funded by the National Institutes of Health Enterics Research Investigational Network, Mansfield said there are many other bacteria and viruses associated with GBS and her models and data could be useful in studying these suspected causes, as well as finding better treatment and prevention options.

“These models hold great potential for discovery of new treatments for this paralysis,” Mansfield said. “Many patients with GBS are critically ill and they can’t participate in clinical trials. The models we identified can help solve this.”

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Those suffering from GBS can initially experience vomiting and diarrhea, but can often write the symptoms off as eating bad food. One to three weeks later, they can begin to develop weakness and tingling in the feet and legs. Gradually, paralysis can spread to the upper body and arms, and even a respirator may be needed for breathing.

“Of course new treatments would be wonderful,” she said, “but therapeutics to prevent GBS from developing in the first place would be the best strategy so that people don’t have to suffer with paralysis.”

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Modupe Gbadeyanka is a fast-rising journalist with Business Post Nigeria. Her passion for journalism is amazing. She is willing to learn more with a view to becoming one of the best pen-pushers in Nigeria. Her role models are the duo of CNN's Richard Quest and Christiane Amanpour.

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