MAY 2009


29th May 2009 - New research


Journal of Neurology, Neurosurgery and Psychiatry [2009] 80 (5) : 484-488 (Bannier S, Montaurier C, Derost PP, Ulla M, Lemaire JJ, Boirie Y, Morio B, Durif F.) Complete abstract

Journal of Neurology, Neurosurgery and Psychiatry [2009] May 21 [Epub ahead of print] (Smeding HM, Speelman JD, Huizenga HM, Schuurman PR, Schmand B.) Complete abstract 

The effects on people with Parkinson's Disease has been assessed after they have undergone DBS (Deep brain stimulation). Deep brain stimulation  is a method of treating Parkinson's Disease that involves the use of electrodes implanted into the brain. Three months after surgery, DBS had caused an improvement in Parkinson's Disease symptoms by 60%, and an improvement of more than 80% in motor complications such as dyskinesia. No patient was underweight before surgery, and half were overweight before surgery.

By contrast, 68% were overweight 3 months after surgery, and 82% were overweight after 16 months. This weight gain was mainly secondary to an increase in fat mass in both men and women. The researchers suggested the need to counter weight increase due to DBS by providing diet management a physical training schedule for people with Parkinson's Disease. A second study found that there was a 41% improvement in motor function,  a 32% improvement in the quality of life, but a 36% decline in intellectual functions. Mood improved in some but declined in others. In order to refer to this article on its own click here.


28th May 2009 - New book


Samantha Solimeo

Publisher's description : At the heart of With Shaking Hands is the account of elder Americans in rural Iowa who have been diagnosed with PD. With a focus on the impact of chronic illness on an aging population, Samantha Solimeo combines clear and accessible prose with qualitative and quantitative research to demonstrate how PD accelerates, mediates, and obscures patterns of aging. She explores how ideas of what to expect in older age influence and direct interpretations of one's body. A richly detailed and touching ethnographic portrayal of the experiences of elderly people with Parkinson's disease. Click here for more details For more books concerning Parkinson's Disease go to Parkinson's Disease Books.


23rd May 2009 - New research


Movement Disorders [2009] May 7 [ahead of print] (Simon KC, Chen H, Gao X, Schwarzschild MA, Ascherio A.) Complete abstract 

Researchers have assessed whether estrogen and reproductive factors are associated with the risk of Parkinson's Disease. Estrogen has numerous effects on dopamine, and Parkinson's Disease is more common in men than women. So it had previously been theorised that estrogen could have a therapeutic effect on Parkinson's Disease.
Click here for more details However, when fully assessed, it was found that the risk of Parkinson's Disease was not associated with any reproductive factors or the use of estrogen. Use of postmenopausal hormones did reduce the lessening effect of smoking and caffeine intake on Parkinson's Disease. Also, women using progestin-only hormones were found to have an increased risk of Parkinson's Disease, but this result was based on only a small number of cases, and so might not be statistically significant. In order to refer to this article on its own click here.

                                                                                                                                                  22nd May 2009 - New book


Anthony Schapira (Editor), Andreas Hartmann (Editor), Yves Agid (Editor)

Publisher's description : This book gives the reader an up-to-date, clear and logical idea of what caring for parkinsonian patients entails - a challenge that clinicians will face for many years to come. It is split into three sections : Section 1 - A compilation of the major brain lesions typically seen in Parkinson's Disease; Section 2 - Treatment options in Parkinson's Disease; Section 3 - 25 cases of Parkinson's Disease designed to test the reader and the practical application of the information supplied in the other sections. Click here for more details The previous book by two of the authors was titled "Parkinson's Disease in Daily Practice". Click here for more details  In order to refer to this article on its own click here.


20th May 2009 - New research


Journal of neurology, neurosurgery, and psychiatry [2009] 80 (6) : 671-674 (Alonso A, Rodríguez LA, Logroscino G, Hernán MA.) Complete abstract

Those people taking anti-depressants were found to be nearly two times (1.85 times) more likely to develop Parkinson's Disease. The association became more than twice as likely (2.19 times) during the first two years after initiation of anti-depressant use. More than two years later, previous anti-depressant use increased the likelihood of Parkinson's Disease only slightly.

Results were similar for selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors and tricyclic anti-depressants separately. It is uncertain as to whether it is the anti-depressants or depression that caused this association. Individuals with depression have a higher risk of developing Parkinson's Disease but the timing of the association is unknown. They often coincide because depression is also a potential symptom of the insufficient dopamine that occurs in Parkinson's Disease. The researchers suggest that depressive symptoms could be an early manifestation of Parkinson's Disease that precedes muscular symptoms. In order to refer to this article on its own click here.


19th May 2009 - News release


Former NBA basketball star Brian Grant has been diagnosed with "young onset" Parkinson's Disease in January whilst still only 36, after he began having tremors in his left hand last summer. He consulted two other well-known Parkinson's Disease sufferers, Michael J. Fox and Muhammad Ali, and quickly implemented several lifestyle changes. For the full details and a video interview, go to the Complete article. He played for  Los Angeles Lakers, Sacramento Kings, Portland Trail Blazers, Miami Heat, and Phoenix Suns in the NBA. For more information go to Brian Grant. He is starting a web site devoted to Parkinson's Disease, and has his own official web site. In order to refer to this article on its own click here.


17th May 2009 - News release


Transgenomic and Power3 Medical have announced the introduction of a new blood test for Parkinson's Disease called NuroPro® PD. The NuroPro PD test can help clinicians distinguish patients with Parkinson’s diseases from those that don't have Parkinson's Disease, and those people with other neurological disorders. The tests are a panel of blood serum protein biomarkers that are evaluated to predict the probability that somebody has Parkinson's Disease.

The results showed that NuroPro PD was able to discriminate between Parkinson’s Disease patients and age-matched control subjects with a sensitivity of 93% and specificity of 96%. Samples from Parkinson’s Disease patients were correctly identified with 100% sensitivity when tested. The aim is to market NuroPro PD in the near future. For more information go to the Press release. As many as 25% of people with Parkinson's Disease are wrongly diagnosed. So a method of diagnosing Parkinson's Disease that was far more accurate than symptom questionnaires, and much cheaper than the relatively expensive scanning methods, would be a major development. For current methods of diagnosis, go to Diagnosis of Parkinson's Disease. In order to refer to this article on its own click here.


15th May 2009 - New book


Jackie Hunt Christensen

Publisher's description : Why would anyone say “Let’s stick wires into someone’s brain, run voltage through it, and see what happens!” ? Author Christensen answers this question and more in her unique and comprehensive book, as she has firsthand knowledge of the procedure commonly referred to as DBS. She herself lived with Parkinson’s disease for more than seven years before electing to be evaluated for DBS surgery.  Parkinson’s disease, the author is quick to point out, does not end, but DBS is meant to be a long-term treatment. Jackie Hunt Christensen offers a step-by-step look at her own journey, as well as offering information on a typical evaluation process, medical statistics, questions to ask neurosurgeons, opinions from other DBS patients, the programming process for DBS, and much more.  For more details click here. In order to refer to this article on its own click here.


13th May 2009 - New research


Movement Disorders [2009] May 7 [Epub ahead of print] (Pontone GM, Williams JR, Anderson KE, Chase G, Goldstein SA, Grill S, Hirsch ES, Lehmann S, Little JT, Margolis RL, Rabins PV, Weiss HD, Marsh L.)
Complete abstract

Anxiety disorders are common in Parkinson's Disease, but are not well characterized. So this study determined the prevalence of anxiety disorders in Parkinson's Disease. Around 43% of people with Parkinson's Disease were found to currently have an anxiety disorder. Almost half of people with Parkinson's Disease were found to have had an anxiety disorder at some time. Panic disorders were more associated with an earlier age of onset of Parkinson's
Disease, and were more common in those people with greater motor fluctuations and morning dystonia.

This high prevalence of anxiety disorders suggested to the researchers that anxiety in Parkinson's Disease is both underdiagnosed and undertreated. The main biochemical fault in Parkinson's Disease is insufficient dopamine. Low dopamine does not cause anxiety itself. So anxiety is not an inevitable part of Parkinson's Disease. L-dopa can end up as noradrenaline, which causes anxiety. So the high prevalence of anxiety in Parkinson's Disease may be largely due to the side effects of certain Parkinson's Disease drugs. In order to refer to this article on its own click here.


11th May 2009 - New research


Journal of Neurochemistry [2009] 109 (3) : 879-888 (Sánchez-Iglesias S, Méndez-Alvarez E, Iglesias-González J, Muñoz-Patiño A, Sánchez-Sellero I, Labandeira-García JL, Soto-Otero R.)
Complete abstract

Aluminium has no known function in humans, yet people inadvertently consume it, due to using aluminium cookware, the use of antiperspirants and deodorants, drinks in aluminium cans, bleached flour, antacids, and even in some water supplies.  High levels of aluminium are known to be able to affect neurological disorders. Results of this study showed that aluminium caused an increase in oxidative stress for most of the brain regions studied.

This was accompanied by a decrease in the activity of some antioxidant enzymes (chemicals that protect the cells against damage). However, studies confirmed the inability of aluminium to affect the activity of those antioxidant enzymes. Aluminium also enhanced the ability of a known neurotoxin, to cause oxidative stress and neuro-degeneration in the dopaminergic neurons (the cells involved in Parkinson's Disease). The authors conclude that aluminium is a risk factor for developing Parkinson's Disease. Contrary to their claims, severe aluminium poisoning has never been shown to cause Parkinson's Disease. In order to refer to this article on its own click here.


6th May 2009 - New research


Movement Disorders [2009] May 1 [Epub ahead of print] (Dahodwala N, Siderowf A, Xie M, Noll E, Stern M, Mandell DS.)
Complete abstract

The objective of this study was to determine the incidence of Parkinson's Disease according to race in the U.S.A.. Most prone were whites with an incidence of 45 per 100,000. Latinos were the next most prone with an incidence of 40 per 100,000. Least prone of all were African-Americans with an incidence of only 23 per 100,000. This gave
African-Americans only a 43% chance of being diagnosed in comparison to whites.

Even after adjusting for all possible factors, American-Americans still had less than half the likelihood of developing Parkinson's Disease. The reason for this racial difference in Parkinson's Disease is unknown. Observed racial differences in the incidence of Parkinson's Disease are not explained at all by differences in age, sex, income, insurance or healthcare utilization. The country with the lowest prevalence of Parkinson's Disease - Ethiopia - is also African, as are other countries with a low prevalence of Parkinson's Disease. However, Latin American countries, such as Colombia and Bolivia also have a low prevalence of Parkinson's Disease. For more information go to the Prevalence of Parkinson's Disease. In order to refer to this article on its own click here.


3rd May 2009 - New research


Pramipexole (known under the trade names Mirapexin®, Sifrol®, Mirapex® and Pexola®) is a drug that is used for Parkinson's Disease, on its own or with L-dopa. However, there are numerous possible side effects.  It is claimed that the outcome of a new study on Pramipexole is set to change the treatment of depressive symptoms in Parkinson's Disease because Pramipexole is claimed to relieve the depressive symptoms of Parkinson's Disease.

However, the results show that the effect of Pramipexole was little better than the effect of a placebo : depression (reduced by -5.9 v -4.0), geriatric depression (improved by 2.5 v 1.7), Parkinson's Disease symptoms (reduced by -4.4 v -2), daily living (improved by -2.4 v -1.2). Those taking only a placebo improved on all the scales as well, thereby reducing the actual benefit of Pramipexole. The placebo achieved a similar effect without the widespread side effects of Pramipexole.  For more information go to the News release.

Previous research by the same author also showed that Pramipexole was not not much more effective for Parkinson's Disease depression than a placebo. For more information go to the  Complete abstract. In order to refer to this article on its own click here.


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