APRIL 2011

                                                                                                                                                  29th April 2011 - New research


Cogane, which can be taken orally, readily crosses the blood-brain barrier and has been shown to stimulate the release of GDNF. For more details see the Complete abstract. In theory, GDNF could biochemically increase somebody's ability to produce their own dopamine. However, an animal study showed that this effect would reverse over time. GDNF was the subject of the controversial Amgen trial, which claimed to rid some people of Parkinson's Disease.  Cogane has been claimed to reduce the effects of Parkinson's Disease. However, the study was only carried out on animals, who did not actually have Parkinson's Disease. The study did not measure the long term effects, and the full details of the clinical trial have not been made available for analysis.

Studies evaluated Cogane in healthy adults and people with Parkinsonís Disease. Cogane was shown to be safe and generally well tolerated over the 28-day study period. For more information go to Cogane. A new longer clinical trial is being arranged to assess whether Cogane works (whether it can improve symptoms or prevent them from worsening), is safe and well tolerated in people with early-stage Parkinsonís Disease, and to determine how the body deals with Cogane. For more information go to PDTrials. In order to refer to this article on its own click here.


27th April 2011 - New research


Movement Disorders [2011] 26 (5) : 889-892 (Gabrielli M, Bonazzi P, Scarpellini E, Bendia E, Lauritano EC, Fasano A, Ceravolo MG, Capecci M, Rita Bentivoglio A, Provinciali L, Tonali PA, Gasbarrini A.) Complete abstract

Small intestinal bacterial overgrowth has been found to be highly prevalent in Parkinson's Disease. Parkinson's Disease is associated with gastrointestinal motility abnormalities that could favour the occurrence of small intestinal bacterial overgrowth. The aim of this study was to assess the prevalence of small intestinal bacterial overgrowth in people with Parkinson's Disease. The prevalence of small intestinal bacterial overgrowth was far higher in people with Parkinson's Disease. It occurred in over half (54%) of all people with Parkinson's Disease, in contrast to only 8% of people that do not have Parkinson's Disease. The severity of Parkinson's Disease was also very significantly related to small intestinal bacterial overgrowth.

This can lead to the following symptoms : excess gas, abdominal bloating and distension, abdominal pain, and diarrhea or in some cases chronic constipation. For more information go to Small intestinal bacterial overgrowth. The researchers suggest that the gastrointestinal motility abnormalities that often occur in Parkinson's Disease might explain this association. In order to refer to this article on its own click here.


23rd April 2011 - New book


Roya Sayadi, Joel Herskowitz

Publisher's description : "Swallow Safely" is "A Caregiver's Guide to Recognition, Treatment, and Prevention". Relatively few people realize the danger of swallowing problems. They take tens of thousands of lives every year through choking, pneumonia, and malnutrition. "Swallow Safely" seeks to erase this knowledge gap. The book presents in clear, non-technical language with illustrations how swallowing works normally, how things can go wrong, what symptoms to watch out for, and how to get help. The book is written primarily for caregivers of elderly persons and others with medical and neurologic problems such as Parkinson disease, which is commonly associated with swallowing problems. Click here for more details. For the book's web site go to Swallow Safely. For more books concerning Parkinson's Disease go to Parkinson's Disease Books.


21st April 2011 - New research


The Journal of  Neurological Science [2011] Apr 15. [Epub ahead of print] (Miyake Y, Tanaka K, Fukushima W, Sasaki S, Kiyohara C, Tsuboi Y, Yamada T, Oeda T, Miki T, Kawamura N, Sakae N, Fukuyama H, Hirota Y, Nagai M) Complete abstract

In some people, metals such as iron and zinc have been claimed to be increased in the substantia nigra, which is the part of the brain most involved in Parkinson's Disease. Copper is sometimes decreased in the same part of the brain. It has consequently often been claimed that iron may contribute to Parkinson's Disease. However, instead of being a toxic substance, iron is a nutrient required for normal function in the brain. Iron is essential for the formation of L-dopa, whose deficiency causes Parkinson's Disease. So its deficiency rather than excess would be likely to cause Parkinson's Disease. Evidence for the association of the dietary intake of metals with the risk of Parkinson's Disease is limited. So researchers investigated the relationship between metal consumption and the risk of Parkinson's Disease using a self administered dietary questionnaire. Instead of causing Parkinson's Disease, higher intake of iron, magnesium, and zinc was actually associated with a reduced risk of Parkinson's Disease. The lowest risk of Parkinson's Disease was associated with increased intake of iron, then magnesium, then zinc. There were no relationships between the intake of copper or manganese and the risk of Parkinson's Disease. In order to refer to this article on its own click here.


19th April 2011 - New research


Minerva Medica [2011] 102 (2) : 125-132 (Bosco D, Plastino M, Bosco F, Fava A, Rotondo A) Complete abstract
                                                                                                                                                                               The aim of the present study was to evaluate the use in advanced Parkinson's Disease of Melevodopa, which is undergoing testing. Continuous intravenous infusions of L-Dopa as a treatment for Parkinson's Disease are limited by the insolubility and acidity of L-Dopa. Melevodopa, which is a  methyl ester of L-dopa, overcomes this as it is a soluble neutral derivative.  In previous studies Melevodopa led to a significantly more rapid reversal of "off" periods, and reduction in "off" time, and more readily led to "on" periods.

In the present study, when people were switched from Sinemet to Melevodopa people improved regarding their "On-time".  The benefit was greater in people with "delayed-on", and especially in those with both "delayed-on" and "wearing-off". Most patients showed a significant improvement in PDQ-39 total score (a standard Parkinson's Disease symptom questionnaire). The authors conclude that Melevodopa is an effective agent for improving motor performance and quality-of-life in Parkinson's Disease with "delayed-on" and  with "wearing-off". In order to refer to this article on its own click here.


16th April 2011 - New research


Archives of Neurology [2011] 68 (2) : 165 (Bronstein JM, Tagliati M, Alterman RL, Lozano AM, Volkmann J, Stefani A, Horak FB, Okun MS, Foote KD, Krack P, Pahwa R, Henderson JM, Hariz MI, Bakay RA, Rezai A, Marks WJ Jr, Moro E, Vitek JL, Weaver FM, Gross RE, DeLong MR.) Complete abstract

An international consortium of experts organized, reviewed the literature concerning DBS (Deep Brain Stimulation) for Parkinson's Disease in order to provide recommendations to patients, physicians, and other health care providers. Deep Brain Stimulation (DBS) involves the use of electrodes that are implanted into the brain and connected to a small electrical device called a pulse generator that can be externally programmed. DBS can reduce the need for L-dopa and related drugs, which in turn decreases the dyskinesias that are a common side effect of L-dopa. It also helps to alleviate fluctuations of symptoms and to reduce tremors, slowness of movements, and gait problems. For more information go to Deep brain stimulation.

The following recommendations were agreed on by all members : (1) Patients with Parkinson's Disease without significant active cognitive or psychiatric problems who have medically intractable motor fluctuations, intractable tremor, or intolerance of medication adverse effects are good candidates for DBS. (2) DBS surgery is best performed by an experienced neurosurgeon with expertise in stereotactic neurosurgery who is working as part of a inter-professional team. (3) Surgical complication rates are extremely variable, with infection being the most commonly reported complication of DBS. (4) DBS programming is best accomplished by a highly trained clinician and can take 3 to 6 months to obtain optimal results. (5) DBS improves L-dopa responsive symptoms, dyskinesia, and tremor. Benefits seem to be long-lasting in many motor domains. (6) Subthalamic nuclei DBS may be complicated by increased depression, apathy, impulsivity, worsened verbal fluency, and executive dysfunction in some patients. (7) Both globus pallidus pars interna and subthalamic nuclei DBS have been shown to be effective in addressing the motor symptoms of Parkinson's Disease. (8) Ablative therapy is still an effective alternative and should be considered in a select group of appropriate patients. In order to refer to this article on its own click here.


14th April 2011 - New research


Neurobiology of Aging [2011] Apr 9. [Epub ahead of print] (Wirdefeldt K, Gatz M, Reynolds CA, Prescott CA, Pedersen NL.) Complete abstract

Previous twin studies reported no heritability of Parkinson's Disease. A Swedish study, assessed nearly 500,000 people. Amongst them were over 500 twins with Parkinson's Disease. The percentage of twins that both had Parkinson's Disease was 11% for monozygotic twins (identical twins) and only 4% for same-sexed dizygotic twins (twins that are not identical). When this was expanded to assess the coincidence of Parkinson's Disease or Parkinsonism the percentage of twins that both had Parkinson's Disease or Parkinsonism was 13% for monozygotic twins (identical twins) and only 5% for same-sexed dizygotic twins (twins that are not identical). The authors conclude that Parkinson's Disease is mildly heritable. However, they do not appear to have taken account of the twins having the same environment, dietary habits and medical treatments. These considerations could possibly nullify the level of coincidence of Parkinson's Disease found amongst twins, and thereby make the study consistent with previous studies suggesting a lack of heritability in Parkinson's Disease.
 In order to refer to this article on its own click here.


5th April 2011 - New research


Parkinsonism Related Disorders [2011] Mar 30 [Epub ahead of print] (Tanaka K, Miyake Y, Fukushima W, Sasaki S, Kiyohara C, Tsuboi Y, Yamada T, Oeda T, Miki T, Kawamura N, Sakae N, Fukuyama H, Hirota Y, Nagai M) Complete abstract

Studies that addressed the association between the intake of coffee or caffeine and Parkinson's Disease were conducted mainly in Western countries. Little is known about this relationship in an Asian population. Therefore, researchers assessed the association of the intake of coffee, caffeine and also Japanese and Chinese teas with the risk of Parkinson's Disease.  Intake of coffee, black tea, and Japanese and Chinese teas were significantly inversely associated with the risk of Parkinson's Disease. They all reduced the risk of Parkinson's Disease by nearly half. This is the first study to show a significant inverse relationship between the intake of Japanese tea and Chinese tea (which are commonly green teas), and the risk of Parkinson's Disease.
In order to refer to this article on its own click here.


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