Maine Public reports on UMaine research that links flu, muscle damage

Maine Public reported University of Maine researchers say they have uncovered another reason to get a flu shot — especially for those with muscle disorders. Michelle Goody, an assistant research professor in the School of Biology and Ecology, spearheaded the research project while earning her Ph.D. in biomedical science at UMaine. Clarissa Henry, an associate professor of biological science who served as Goody’s adviser, told Maine Public the research was able to show — using zebrafish as subjects — that the influenza virus damages muscle fibers in several ways. In healthy individuals, these muscle fibers will eventually be rebuilt, Henry said, but that’s not the case for someone with a muscle disease, such as muscular dystrophy. “What Michelle observed was not just a little bit more muscle damage, she pretty much observed that the muscle was completely decimated,” Henry said, adding the results suggest that flu prevention and vaccination is likely even more important for those with muscle diseases than previously understood. Muscular Dystrophy News and  Medical Xpress also reported on the research.