19th September 2011 - New research


Movement Disorders [2011] Sep 12 [Epub ahead of print] (F.Stocchi, R.Borgohain, M.Onofrj, A.H.Schapira, M.Bhatt, V.Lucini, R.Giuliani, R.Anand) Complete abstract

Safinamide is a new type of drug being developed for Parkinson's Disease. Safinamide is believed to have both dopaminergic and non-dopaminergic actions, including the inhibition of monoamine oxidase B (MAO-B) and inhibition of glutamate release. It is intended to be added on to the existing use of L-dopa or dopamine agonists.

In people with early Parkinson's Disease taking a dopamine agonist, the effect of 200mg safinamide was found to be little different from that of a placebo. The effect of 100mg safinamide was found to be significantly better than a placebo. In previous clinical trials, after six months, once daily dosages of 50mg to 100mg Safinamide improved Parkinson's Disease symptoms, and reduced "off" time when added on to the use of existing Parkinson's Disease treatments. However, the reduction in "off" time in comparison to the use of a placebo was minimal. The increase in "on" time beyond that of a placebo was only 40 minutes for 50mg safinamide, and 50 minutes for 100mg safinamide. The side effects of the clinical studies were not disclosed. Higher dosages did not have any beneficial effect. In order to refer to this article on its own click here.


18th September 2011 - New book


C.Warren Olanow (Editor), Fabrizio Stocchi (Editor), Anthony Lang (Editor)

Publisher's description : Over 50% of Parkinson's patients suffer symptoms unrelated to the dopamine system. The dopaminergic features of Parkinson's Disease are now well controlled in most patients. Clinicians are increasingly focused on non-dopaminergic symptoms, which can lead to disability and severely restricted quality of life in patients. A world-class Editorial team has assembled a stellar roster of scientists and clinicians to present the clinical importance of non-dopaminergic pathology in Parkinson's Disease. Significant research is examined and its relevance to clinical practice, both now and in the future, is assessed.  Click here for more details. In order to refer to this article on its own click here. For more books concerning Parkinson's Disease go to Parkinson's Disease Books.


15th September 2011 - News release


A clinical trial is to be carried out with the iron chelator Deferiprone (Ferriprox) in Parkinsonís Disease. The clinical trial is being sponsored by Parkinson's UK. It has been claimed in medical studies that iron accumulates in the brains of people with Parkinson's Disease, and that iron can therefore cause further deterioration. Deferipone is an iron chelator, which is able to remove excess iron from the body. It is consequently being assessed to see if it can reduce an accumulation of iron in the brains of people with Parkinson's Disease. The long term aim of the therapy, if the clinical trial is successful, is to slow down the progression of Parkinsonís disease. As this is a pilot study, the theory at present is completely untested. For more information go to Deferiprone.

There are a number of weaknesses in the theory behind the method used : (1) The claims made in studies that there is an accumulation of iron in Parkinson's Disease are not matched by the details of the results of those studies. When the results are age controlled, most people with Parkinson's Disease have only a mild accumulation of iron or no iron accumulation at all. (2) Iron is absolutely essential for the formation of dopamine, due to it being a cofactor for the formation of L-dopa. A restriction or lowering of iron intake can therefore be seriously counterproductive. (3) When L-dopa formation is low as occurs in Parkinson's Disease, iron, as an essential cofactor for L-dopa formation, can accumulate in order to overcome that deficiency. It is a compensatory mechanism rather than a cause of Parkinson's Disease. (4) If iron accumulation caused Parkinson's Disease, those people with Hereditary Haemochromatosis, which causes an accumulation of iron, would all have Parkinson's Disease. Yet in a study of people with Hereditary Haemochromatosis, none of them had Parkinson's Disease. (5) When iron was used therapeutically in Parkinson's Disease, all of the people tested reduced rather than increased their Parkinson's Disease symptoms. In order to refer to this article on its own click here.


4th September 2011 - New research


Nutrition Reviews [2011] 69 (9) : 520-532 (J.M.Sheard, S.Ash, P.A.Silburn, G.K.Kerr) Complete abstract

Malnutrition has been found to occur in up to 24% of people with Parkinson's Disease. Up to 60% of people with Parkinson's Disease have been found to be at risk of malnutrition. However, the studies assessed vary greatly in their figures. People with Parkinson's Disease may be at higher risk of malnutrition because of the symptoms associated with Parkinson's Disease and the side effects of the medication used to manage it. A decline in nutritional status is associated with many adverse outcomes related to health and quality of life. The researchers consequently suggest that it is important to screen for malnutrition at the time of Parkinson's Disease diagnosis.

Dopamine, whose deficiency causes Parkinson's Disease, is often falsely assumed to be inevitably produced unless toxicity interferes with its formation. However, dopamine is made from dietary substances, including vitamins, minerals and L-tyrosine, which is usually obtained from high protein foods. For more information go to the Biochemistry of Parkinson's Disease. The deficiency of any of these nutrients could consequently  lessen the amount of dopamine produced. The malnutrition that is common in Parkinson's Disease could therefore not only contribute to its onset but could worsen the symptoms even further. In order to refer to this article on its own click here.


3rd September 2011 - New book


Patrick McNamara

Publisher's description : Patients with Parkinson's Disease suffer most visibly with such motor deficits as tremor and rigidity and less obviously with a range of nonmotor symptoms, including autonomic dysfunction, mood disorders, and cognitive impairment. The neuropsychiatric disturbances of Parkinson's Disease can be as disabling as its motor disorders, but they have only recently begun to be studied intensively. The author offers a cognitive theory that accounts for both their neurology and their phenomenology. He offers a review of current knowledge of neuropsychiatric manifestations of Parkinson's Disease such as cognitive deficits, personality changes, speech and language symptoms, sleep disorders, apathy, psychosis, and dementia.  Click here for more details. For more books concerning Parkinson's Disease go to Parkinson's Disease Books. In order to refer to this article on its own click here.


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