25th August 2009 - New research


American Family Physician [2009] 80 (1) : 28-30 (Hitzeman N, Rafii F.)
Complete abstract

Dopamine agonists have been found to have little advantage over the use of L-dopa in the treatment of Parkinson's Disease. Dopamine agonists are being used increasingly as the initial treatment for Parkinson Disease, but uncertainty remains about their clinical-effectiveness and cost relative to the use of L-dopa. 

Based on 29 clinical trials involving over 5000 people, dyskinesia, dystonia and motor fluctuations occurred less in people using dopamine agonists. However, various non-motor adverse effects were worse in those using dopamine agonists including : edema (fluid accumulation), somnolence (sleepiness), dizziness, hallucinations, constipation, and nausea. Some agonists are also known to cause compulsions. People treated with dopamine agonists were also significantly more likely than people taking L-dopa to discontinue treatment because of adverse events. The control of Parkinson's Disease symptoms was found to be better with the use of L-dopa than with dopamine agonists. In order to refer to this article on its own click here.


21st August 2009 - New book


K Ray Chaudhuri, Eduardo Tolosa, Anthony Schapira, Werner Poewe

Publisher's description : Patients with Parkinson's disease are known to suffer from motor symptoms, but they also experience non-motor symptoms that are often present before diagnosis or that inevitably emerge with disease progression. Researchers have only recently begun to focus on the non-motor symptoms, which are poorly recognized and inadequately treated. The non-motor symptoms have a significant impact on patient quality of life and mortality and include neuropsychiatric, sleep-related, autonomic, gastrointestinal, and sensory symptoms. While some non-motor symptoms can be improved with currently available treatments, others may be more refractory and will require research into novel (non-dopaminergic) drug therapies for the future. Edited by members of the UK Parkinson's Disease Non-Motor Group (PD-NMG) and with contributions from international experts, this book summarizes the current understanding of non-motor symptoms in Parkinson's disease and points the way towards future research. Click here for more details.  For more books concerning Parkinson's Disease go to Parkinson's Disease Books.


19th August 2009 - New research


The journal of sexual medicine [2009] 6 (4) : 1024-1031 (Kummer A, Cardoso F, Teixeira AL) Complete abstract

Sexual dysfunction is a frequent but neglected problem in Parkinson's Disease, as muscular problems are usually seen as the characteristic symptoms. However, nearly two thirds (65.6%) of people with Parkinson's Disease have been found to suffer a loss of sex drive. Over 42% of those men with Parkinson's Disease also complained of erectile dysfunction. Ageing, female gender, lower education, and depression were most associated with decreased sexual desire. Decreased interest in sex was not associated with antidepressants. Neurological features that were most associated with greater loss of sex drive were predominance of motor symptoms on the left side of the body, autonomic dysfunction, and severer Parkinson's Disease. In order to refer to this article on its own click here.


16th August 2009 - New report


According to a new report, Depomed are developing a new drug called DM-1992 that could outperform Sinemet in the treatment of Parkinson's Disease. For their report click here. The details are on page 20. Just like Sinemet, DM-1992 is a combination of L-dopa and carbidopa, which prevents the breakdown of L-dopa.  DM-1992 also includes AcuForm, which makes use of the properties of certain polymers. These polymers have long been used to "fluff" ice cream and are safe to use. For more information go to Depomed.

Upon entering the stomach an AcuForm coated pill expands and is retained in the stomach for up to 8 hours. This helps to deliver a drug like Sinemet over a longer period of time. Depomed's formulation was able to extend the therapeutic duration of L-dopa to nine hours, compared to Sinemet CR's seven hours. The time to reach peak blood levels was extended to four hours compared to 2 hours for Sinemet CR. These advantages could enable a decrease in the dosage of L-dopa, and the ridding of side effects such as nausea and dyskinesia. In order to refer to this article on its own click here.


14th August 2009 - Web site


Deep brain stimulation (DBS) surgery is often used for Parkinson's Disease. It involves the use of electrodes that are implanted into the brain and connected to a small electrical device. DBS can reduce the need for L-dopa and related drugs, which in turn decreases the involuntary movements called dyskinesias that are a common side effect of L-dopa. is a web site dealing with all aspects of DBS, which is probably the most complex subject in Parkinson's Disease. For their web site go to There is also a forum for DBS where people can raise issues concerning it.


11th August 2009 - New research


The Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson's Research is funding nine new research projects for Parkinson's Disease. All of the nearly four million dollar funding has gone to nine biotech and pharmaceutical companies. For more information read the Press release. The research projects consist of seven "neuroprotective approaches", and two projects concerning the treatment of dyskinesia. The following provides links to the details of each of the nine projects :


The pharmacodynamics of ReS9-S7, which concerns early stage research in possible toxicity [1]. The element being researched, alpha-synuclein, has never been shown to cause Parkinson's Disease, but has instead been found only to be affected as a result of it.


Exploring curcumin (which is found in a curry spice)  as a possible treatment of Parkinson's Disease [2]. Curcumin is already widely used, due to its ready availability, but has never rid Parkinson's Disease.


The effect of novel neuronal nicotinic receptor compounds on dyskinesia [3]. Smoking has the same effect on the nicotinic receptors due its nicotine contact, yet does not rid dyskinesia.


Assessment of the therapeutic efficacy of progranulin in a sub-chronic animal model of Parkinsonís disease [4]. Other researchers have already shown that progranulin has no potential in the treatment of  Parkinson's Disease.


Validation of LRRK2 as a drug target for treatment of Parkinsonís disease using antisense technology [5]. LRRK2 concerns only a genetic form of Parkinson's Disease.


Optimising lead series of small molecule inhibitors of LRRK2 to deliver tool compounds and clinical development candidates [6]. LRRK2 concerns only a genetic form of Parkinson's Disease.


A novel approach to characterize the distribution of a potentially therapeutic dominant-negative inhibitor of TNF in pre-clinical models of PD, and predict the scalability for an effective delivery of therapy in the human brain [7]. This aims for drugs to be able to by pass the blood brain barrier. However, Parkinson's Disease has never been shown to be due to a deficiency of the blood brain barrier.


Pre-clinical development of a Parkinsonís disease therapy using a glucagon-like peptide (GLP-1) receptor agonist [8]. It is already approved by the FDA, but for diabetes rather than Parkinson's Disease.


Optimization of MOR antagonists for the treatment of L-DOPA-induced dyskinesias in Parkinsonís Disease [9]. The theory behind its use does not, even in theory, address the fact that dyskinesia is due to excessive L-dopa.

In order to refer to this article on its own click here.


8th August 2009 - New book


Michael S. Okun, Hubert H. Fernandez

Publisher's description : Derived from Ask the Doctor, a website column written by the authors for the National Parkinson Foundation, this book explores frequently asked questions. It offers detailed answers to the most common questions, including the role of heredity in Parkinsonís, its symptoms and diagnosis, the effectiveness of drugs and other treatments, whether the diseaseís progression can be slowed, the future of stem cell treatment in the fight against Parkinsonís disease, and many others. Written in plain, easy-to-understand language, it arms readers with the knowledge they need to better understand and manage the disease. Click here for more details.  For more books concerning Parkinson's Disease go to Parkinson's Disease Books.


7th August 2009 - New research


Environmental Health Perspectives [2009] (Nicole M. Gatto, Myles Cockburn, Jeff Bronstein, Angelika D. Manthripragada, and Beate Ritz) Complete report

Consumption of pesticide contaminated well water has often been claimed to be a cause of Parkinsonís Disease. When researchers investigated consumption of water from private wells in areas with documented historical pesticide use, they found that it was associated with an increased risk of Parkinson's Disease. Six pesticides were examined : diazinon, chlorpyrifos, propargite, paraquat, dimethoate, and methomyl. People with Parkinson's Disease were found to have consumed well water an average of more than four years longer than people that did not have Parkinson's Disease. Consumption of well water contaminated with the pesticides methomyl, chlorpyrifos or propargite resulted in a 70% to 90% increase in the risk of developing Parkinson's Disease. Exposure to a higher number of water soluble pesticides and organophosphate pesticides also increased the risk of causing Parkinson's Disease. For more information concerning toxic causes, go to the Toxic causes of Parkinson's Disease. In order to refer to this article on its own click here.


1st August 2009 - New research


Neuroepidemiology [2009] 33 (3) : 225-230 (Racette BA, Good LM, Kissel AM, Criswell SR, Perlmutter JS.) Complete abstract

The world's highest prevalence of Parkinson's Disease by far has been found among the Amish religious community, where Parkinson's Disease is two to three times more prevalent than anywhere else in the world.

The Amish are primarily in the North East of the U.S.A. They are a devoutly religious community who believe in the literal interpretation of the Bible. They segregate themselves from other communities, wear traditional clothes, and live a traditional lifestyle that does not permit the use of electricity, television, radio, or telephones. For transport they use horses and carriages instead of cars, which they are not allowed to use. Most speak a German dialect known as Pennsylvania Dutch. For more information click here and here, and for a brief video of their lifestyle click here.

The prevalence of Parkinson's Disease amongst the Amish aged 60 or older has been found to be 5,703 per 100,000, which is enormously high. According to U.N.Data, 17% of the U.S. population is aged 60 or older. So the prevalence of Parkinson's Disease in the Amish community as a whole is  970 per 100,000. This is by far the highest prevalence of Parkinson's Disease in the world, and around three times the prevalence of the U.S.A., despite the U.S.A having the highest prevalence of any country. For more information go to the Prevalence of Parkinson's Disease. The Amish refuse to take out health insurance. They are also afflicted by genetic disorders. So it was thought that the cause might be genetic. However, the more closely related they were, the less they were affected. They are primarily involved in agriculture, and most of them use pesticides, but the effect of pesticides was not assessed by the researchers. In order to refer to this article on its own click here.


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