MAY 2011


28th May 2011 - News release


Neurologix have provided details of a Phase 2 clinical trial of NLX-P101 in Parkinson's Disease. NLX-P101 is a gene therapy under investigation for the treatment of Parkinson's Disease. NLX-P101 increases the level of GABA, a substance involved in muscular movement that is naturally produced in the brain.  In a one-year follow-up, patients treated with NLX-P101 who achieved clinically-meaningful symptom improvements increased from 50% at six months to 63% after one year. No serious adverse events related to the therapy or surgery were reported.

NLX-P101 led to an average improvement of 23% in those people treated, which is an 8 point reduction from their symptom questionnaire score. Those patients undergoing sham surgery (those that were untreated) had an average improvement of nearly 13%, which is nearly a 5 point reduction from their symptom questionnaire score.  Therefore the average improvement beyond that of doing nothing was only actually 10% and occurred in only just over half of patients. For more information go to the News release. In order to refer to this article on its own click here.


25th May 2011 - News release


Oxford BioMedica, a leading gene therapy company, have announced clinical data from a Phase I/II clinical trial of ProSavin for the treatment of Parkinsonís Disease. They claim : an average improvement in motor function of 43%, a maximum improvement of 61%, an increase in "on" time of 3 hours, and an decrease in "off" time of 4 hours. Two doses have been tested. For more information go to the News release. ProSavin uses Oxford BioMedica's own LentiVector gene delivery technology to deliver the genes for three enzymes that are required for the formation of dopamine. The product is administered locally to the relevant region of the brain in order to increase the brain's own capacity for the formation of dopamine. For more information go to ProSavin.

However, only nine patients have so far been tested, and only for part of the intended duration of the clinical trial. The claim of increased "on" time and decreased "off" time has come only from two patients, and had been entirely self reported by the patients themselves. The claim of an average improvement in motor function of 43%, and a maximum improvement of 61% comes from only three of the patients who have been tested for the least time. It was not the actual average improvement of the patients, which was much less. Those patients tested for the longest actually declined in their improvement as time wore on. In order to refer to this article on its own click here.


23rd May 2011 - New review


Misdiagnosis in Parkinson's Disease is very common. Initial diagnoses of Parkinson's Disease made by general neurologists were only infrequently changed [reference 1], yet were incorrect in 24% to 35% of cases [reference 1]  [reference 2]. This means that many people have been treated for Parkinson's Disease for the rest of their lives without ever having had Parkinson's Disease. In people taking Parkinson's Disease drugs, Parkinsonism was confirmed in only 74% of cases and only 53% of them had probable Parkinson's Disease. Over a quarter of the patients did not benefit from Parkinson's Disease drugs [reference 2] [reference 3]. More than 1 in 3 people with tremor were misdiagnosed as having Essential Tremor, when the majority of them actually had Parkinson's Disease [reference 4]. As many as a quarter of people with tremor disorders were wrongly diagnosed as having tremor dominant Parkinson's disease, and as many as a fifth of people with tremor dominant Parkinson's disease were wrongly diagnosed as having other tremor disorders [reference 5]. In order to refer to this article on its own click here.


15th May 2011 - New research


Lancet Neurology [2011] May 10 [Epub ahead of print] (Gross RE, Watts RL, Hauser RA, Bakay RA, Reichmann H, von Kummer R, Ondo WG, Reissig E, Eisner W, Steiner-Schulze H, Siedentop H, Fichte K, Hong W, Cornfeldt M, Beebe K, Sandbrink R) Complete abstract

Human retinal pigment epithelial (RPE) cells in the eyes also produce L-dopa. So their transplantation into the brain of people with Parkinson's Disease was considered to be able to improve the continuity of the administration of L-dopa better than the use of oral L-dopa. Researchers aimed to assess the safety, tolerability, and efficacy of transplantation of human retinal pigment epithelial cells into people with advanced Parkinson's Disease. Around 650,000 cells were injected in to the brain of each patient.  Each person's symptoms were then assessed after a year.

However, it was found that the treatment made no difference at all concerning their Parkinson's Disease symptoms. The method also caused adverse events, most of which were neurological or psychiatric. The authors of the research concluded that transplantation of human retinal pigment epithelial cells provided no benefit for Parkinson's Disease. A previous study found that the transplanted retinal cells failed to survive. For more information go to Retinal stem cells disappear after surgery. In order to refer to this article on its own click here.


12th May 2011 - New research


Neurology [2011] 76 (19) : 1668-1672 (Bowen LN, Malaty IA, Rodriguez RL, Okun MS.) Complete abstract

Historians have often claimed that General MacArthur had Parkinson Disease, and that his illness may have influenced his military judgment. General MacArthur (1880-1964) was Chief of Staff of the U.S. Army and played a prominent role as a Field Marshall in World War 2. For more information go to General MacArthur. It is already well established that Hitler had Parkinson's Disease throughout World War 2, and that he was preoccupied with it in the last days of World War 2. For more information go to Adolf Hitler and Parkinson's Disease.

Researchers reviewed the literature, medical studies, images and videos concerning General MacArthur as well as his personal writings to determine the likelihood that he had Parkinson's Disease. They examined his facial profiles, facial expression, gait, posture, and movement. Handwriting samples were compared for evidence of micrographia. Videos and handwriting samples were independently reviewed by neurologists. Video footage showed evidence of progression of head tremors, postural action tremors, and also voice tremors. However, there were no indications of a masked face, rigidity, bradykinesia, or resting tremor on film footage. There was no evidence of micrographia in handwriting samples either. Oral testimony and letters written by an attending gastroenterologist present at MacArthur's death in 1964 revealed no evidence of parkinsonian features. The researchers therefore concluded that General MacArthur had essential tremor that became worse, but that it did not progress to Parkinson's Disease.  In order to refer to this article on its own click here.


7th May 2011 - New research


Sleep Medicine Reviews [2011] 15 (1) : 41-50 (S.Zoccolella, M.Savarese, P.Lamberti, R.Manni, C.Pacchetti, G. Logroscino) Complete abstract

Recent studies showed that sleep disorders may precede the onset of Parkinson's Disease. Excessive daytime sleepiness has been found to be associated with three times the risk of developing Parkinson's Disease. Available information suggests that sleep disorders may actually be the heralding clinical manifestation for Parkinson's Disease onset. Sleep disorders are one of the most frequent manifestations of Parkinson's Disease once it has developed.  Incidence of sleep disorders during Parkinson's Disease progressively increase with the duration of Parkinson's Disease. Factors most related with an increase in sleep disorders in Parkinson's Disease are : older age, male gender, higher dosages of dopaminergic drugs, cognitive impairment and hallucinations.

The researchers do not explain why excessive daytime sleepiness could lead to such an increased risk of Parkinson's Disease. However, it is known that melatonin, which is produced during sleep affects dopamine, the substance whose deficiency causes Parkinson's Disease. In order to refer to this article on its own click here.


5th May 2011 - New research


Movement Disorders [2011] May 3 [Epub ahead of print] (C.Sampaio, J.Bronzova, R.A.Hauser, A.E.Lang, O. Rascol, S.V.van de Witte, A.A.Theeuwes) Complete abstract

This study presents the results of two clinical trials concerning the efficacy and safety of Pardoprunox in people with early Parkinson's disease. Pardoprunox is a partial dopamine agonist that is presently being assessed. It unusually combines two effects as if it were two distinct but combined drugs : partially stimulating dopamine, whose deficiency causes Parkinson's Disease, and fully stimulating serotonin. It was thought that Pardoprunox could avoid some of the severe side effects dopamine agonists cause by lessening the effect of dopamine when dopamine activity is high.

Pardoprunox showed a significant benefit in reducing Parkinson's Disease symptoms. In one study 6mg was better than 12mg or 12mg-42mg. However, in another study, Pardoprunox was not quite as effective as the dopamine agonist pramipexole (Mirapex). Pardoprunox tolerability was dose related. The higher dosages showed the highest drop out rate due to adverse events, which occurred in about half of patients. The main problems caused were nausea, somnolence, and dizziness. Observations suggest that the 12mg-42mg per day dose range was higher than therapeutically required. In order to refer to this article on its own click here.


4th May 2011 - New book


Carlo Colosimo (Editor), David E.Riley (Editor), Gregor K.Wenning (Editor)

Publisher's description : Neurologists are increasingly faced with atypical parkinsonian disorders, which mimic Parkinson's disease but can be difficult to diagnose. Improved diagnostic sophistication is increasingly enabling neurologists to differentiate between Parkinson's disease and atypical parkinsonism. The Handbook of Atypical Parkinsonism is a comprehensive survey of all diseases of this category, providing an authoritative guide to the recognition, diagnosis and management of these disorders. Written and edited by leading practitioners in the field, clinicians in neurology and other specialties will find this book essential to the understanding and diagnosis of this complex group of disorders. Click here for more details. For more books concerning Parkinson's Disease go to Parkinson's Disease Books.


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