26th September 2010 - New review


Stem cell surgery, in which stem cells are placed inside the brain in order to replace lost cells, is claimed to be necessary for Parkinson's Disease because it is assumed that there is massive loss of the dopaminergic neurons (the cells involved in Parkinson's Disease). However, the theoretical basis of stem cell surgery in Parkinson's Disease is based on a fallacy, because no studies have ever shown that there is a massive loss of the dopaminergic neurons in Parkinson's Disease. Parkinson's Disease results from the reduced activity of the existing cells. It is inevitable that any new cells will eventually function at the same insufficient rate as the existing cells, because their biochemical environment would be identical.

When stem cell surgery underwent formal clinical trials there was found to be little or no effect [1] [2] [3]. In a later study, a patient who underwent adult neural stem cell transplantation appeared to significantly reduce their symptoms, but after five years they had symptoms that were worse than when they started, and were deteriorating rapidly [4]. In a subsequent study, involving the use of bone marrow derived mesenchymal stem cells, there was also little or no effect [5]. Transplanted cells eventually cease to function normally anyway and still develop changes that are characteristic of Parkinson's Disease [6] [7], confirming that Parkinson's Disease is a biochemical state that can affect any cells - those that were already there and those that are placed there. In order to refer to this article on its own click here.


23rd September 2010 - New book


Bill Schmalfeldt

Publisher's description : From the author of "No Doorway Wide Enough," "Undercover Trucker," and "Hunky Dunk," a real-life look at how one man deals with his Parkinson's disease decline by laughing at it. Told in a series of essays from his blog, Bill Schmalfeldt talks more about the non-motor symptoms of PD - the speech difficulties, the bizarre dreams, the memory problems and the hallucinations - in a way that makes the reader realize that while there's no cure for PD, it can't damage the human spirit (unless you let it) ! Diagnosed with Parkinson's disease in 2000 at the tender age of 45, Bill Schmalfeldt has devoted his life to raising awareness of the disease in America. Click here for more details. For more books concerning Parkinson's Disease go to Parkinson's Disease Books. For Bill Schmalfeldt's blog go to My Parkinson's Diary.


22nd September 2010 - New research


World Neurosurgery [2010] 73 (4) : 338-344 (F.Vergani, A.Landi, D.Pirillo, R.Cilia, A.Antonini, E.P.Sganzerla)  Complete abstract

Deep Brain Stimulation (DBS) is the most commonly used surgical means of treating Parkinson's Disease. It 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. For more information go to Deep Brain Stimulation. Adverse events, due to surgical and hardware-related complications, must be clearly addressed to properly balance the cost-effectiveness of the therapy. In a large study of DBS surgical operations, the following percentages of patients experienced adverse events : surgical complications (5.6%), including hemorrhages (1.4%), and inabilities to complete the surgical procedure (2.1%). Medical delayed adverse events affected 1.4% of patients, with a patient having a fatal aspiration pneumonia. Infections were seen in 5.6% of patients. Removal of the hardware was necessary in 3.6%. Hardware-adverse events were observed in 7% of patients, generally requiring minor surgery. Direct surgical mortality was 0%. Overall mortality was 0.7%. Permanent surgical morbidity was 0.7%.  In order to refer to this article on its own click here.


16th September 2010 - New research


Archives of Neurology [2010] 67 (9) : 1116-1122 (Alcalay RN, Caccappolo E, Mejia-Santana H, Tang MX, Rosado L, Ross BM, Verbitsky M, Kisselev S, Louis ED, Comella C, Colcher A, Jennings D, Nance MA, Bressman SB, Scott WK, Tanner C, Mickel S, Andrews H, Waters C, Fahn S, Cote L, Frucht S, Ford B, Rezak M, Novak K, Friedman JH, Pfeiffer R, Marsh L, Hiner B, Siderowf A, Ottman R, Marder K, Clark LN.) Complete abstract

In people with early onset Parkinson's Disease, which was defined as developing Parkinson's Disease at age 50 or earlier, about one in six had genetic mutations known to make Parkinson's Disease more likely. Mutations occurred in 40% of those people who developed Parkinson's Disease by 30 years of age. For those people who developed Parkinson's Disease between 31 and 50 years old the likelihood was about one in seven. This likelihood was far greater in people of Jewish ancestry, as nearly a third of those had genetic mutations known to make Parkinson's Disease more likely. The genetic mutation most responsible for Parkinson's Disease, the Parkin gene, was most common of all in people with Hispanic ancestry. Although genetics are not  a factor at all for most people with Parkinson's Disease, in those people with specific genetic mutations, the likelihood pf developing Parkinson's Disease becomes far greater but not inevitable.
In order to refer to this article on its own click here.


12th September 2010 - New research


Movement Disorders [2010] Aug 24. [Epub ahead of print] (Pal E, Nagy F, Aschermann Z, Balazs E, Kovacs N.) Complete abstract

New clinical trial results indicate that Transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS) seems to have an anti-depressive effect on people with Parkinson's Disease. TMS is a method of exciting nerve cells. The excitation is achieved by weak electric currents caused by rapidly changing magnetic fields. This way, brain activity can be affected without the
need for surgery or external electrodes. The field is generated by passing current pulses through a conducting coil, held close to the scalp so that the field is focussed in the cortex, passing through the skull. For more information go to Transcranial magnetic stimulation.

For full details of the method go to the Oxford Handbook of Transcranial Stimulation.  In the clinical trial, depression was improved 30 days after treatment ended. Parkinson's Disease symptoms aimproved during the clinical trial but not by much. In a previous study, TMS reduced some Parkinson's Disease symptoms. The effect appears to have been achieved by increasing dopamine levels. For more information go to the Complete abstract. In order to refer to this article on its own click here.


9th September 2010 - New research


Neurology [2010] 75 (4) : 341-348 (Xu Q, Park Y, Huang X, Hollenbeck A, Blair A, Schatzkin A, Chen H.) Complete abstract

Higher levels of regular moderate to vigorous activity when somebody is in their late thirties and in the past ten years has been found to reduce the risk of Parkinson's Disease by 40%. Moderate to vigorous activities at earlier ages (prior to their late thirties), or light activity had no effect on the likelihood of developing Parkinson's Disease. The primary symptom of Parkinson's Disease is excessive muscle contraction. Although the initial effect of exercise is to increase muscle contraction, the after effect of exercise is to reduce reduce muscle contraction. This has the same type of effect on the muscles as most Parkinson's Disease drugs. However, exercise does not raise dopamine levels as most Parkinson's Disease drugs do. So exercise does not directly affect Parkinson's Disease, but can reduce the proneness to it. Consequently, a lack of physical activity could also increase the proneness to developing Parkinson's Disease.  In order to refer to this article on its own click here.

                                                                                                                                                    7th September 2010 - New research


Journal of Neural Transmission [2010] Aug 29. [Epub ahead of print] (Debs R, Cochen De Cock V, Nègre-Pagès L, Aristin M, Senard A, Rascol O.)  Complete abstract

Thought disorders have been found to be present in a quarter of people with Parkinson's Disease. Thought disorders can involve :  changing quickly from one idea to another, mixing thoughts together, sudden cessation of thoughts. For more information go to
Thought disorders. One in five people with Parkinson's Disease had vivid dreams. Only 4% of people with Parkinson's Disease had harmless hallucinations. In the study carried out, none of the people assessed had delusions. Those people with thought disorders were found to be more dependent than others. Thought disorders were also associated with : longer duration of Parkinson's Disease, greater Parkinson's Disease symptom scores, the presence of motor complications. Thought disorders were also associated with tremor, dysautonomia (malfunction of the autonomic nervous system), lower MMSE score (a test of cognitive impairment), depression and sleep disorders. Much of this can be attributed to an excess of Parkinson's Disease drugs, because the low dopamine of Parkinson's Disease does not lead to most of these symptoms. In order to refer to this article on its own click here.


3rd September 2010 - New research


Movement Disorders [2010] 25 (11) : 1560-1567 (Gardener H, Gao X, Chen H, Schwarzschild MA, Spiegelman D, Ascherio A.) Complete abstract

Few studies have investigated the relation between early life factors and risk of Parkinson's Disease. Parkinson's Disease risk was examined in relation to : season of birth, birth weight, parental age at birth, preterm birth, multiple birth, ever having been breast-fed, and left or right handedness. No significant relation with Parkinson's Disease was observed for : birth weight, paternal age, preterm birth, multiple birth, and having been breastfed. A modest association was suggested for season of birth, as there was a 30% higher risk of developing Parkinson's Disease in those born in Spring rather than Winter. Older maternal age at birth increased the risk of developing Parkinson's Disease by 75% among those with mothers aged 30 years and older versus those with mothers younger than 20 years old. Left handed women were found to be 62% more likely to develop Parkinson's Disease than right handed women. Men were not affected at all according to whether they were right or left handed.
In order to refer to this article on its own click here.


1st September 2010 - New research


Journal of Human Genetics [2010] 55 (4) : 241-243 (T.H.Hamza, H.Payami) Complete abstract

Researchers questioned whether the evidence for the genetic likelihood of Parkinson's Disease could be explained by the susceptibility genes that have already been identified. They estimated heritability of risk and age at onset of Parkinson's Disease in a large sample of families. After excluding families with known genetic mutations and accounting for the main genes likely to cause Parkinson's Disease, they found the likelihood of inheriting Parkinson's Disease to be 41%. However, this study did not take account of families passing on their non-genetic factors, such as physical environment, dietary habits, and medicine use.

In order to properly assess the genetic likelihood of developing Parkinson's Disease they would need to assess twins separated at birth. However, even when twins not separated at birth were assessed, it was found that the genetic likelihood of developing Parkinson's Disease was only 10% in twins. For more details go to the Complete abstract. The results suggest that Parkinson's Disease is not inherited except in the rarer cases, where there is a  specific genetic mutation. In order to refer to this article on its own click here.


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