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31st October 2007 : New research

the PREVALENce of SLEEP PROBLEMS in parkinson's disease

Movement Disorders [2007] Oct 25; [Epub ahead of print] (Verbaan D, van Rooden SM, Visser M, Marinus J, van Hilten JJ.)  Complete abstract

Night time sleep problems and daytime sleepiness were examined in people with Parkinson's disease. Nearly half of people with Parkinson's Disease were found to suffer from excessive daytime sleepiness. Daytime sleepiness was related to age, dopamine-agonist dose, and disease severity. Night time sleep problems occurred in more than a quarter of people with Parkinson's Disease. Women have more night time sleep problems than men, regardless of whether or not somebody had Parkinson's Disease. Night time sleep problems were related to the dosage of dopamine agonists and L-dopa.  Depressive symptoms were the greatest cause of variance. About 17% of people with Parkinson's Disease had to use sleep medications. However, people with  Parkinson's Disease had no more difficulty falling asleep than did any other people.


30th October 2007 : New research

radiotherapy ceases excessive saliva in parkinson's disease

Movement Disorders [2007] Oct 25; [Epub ahead of print] (Postma AG, Heesters M, van Laar T.) Complete abstract

This study investigated retrospectively the long-term efficacy and safety of radiotherapy to the major salivary glands as a treatment of sialorrhea (excessive saliva production) in patients with Parkinsonism.

Radiotherapy is usually the medical use of ionizing radiation as part of cancer treatment to control malignant cells. However, radiotherapy may be used for other reasons that are unrelated to cancer. For more information go to Radiotherapy.  The sialorrhea had improved significantly a month after Radiotherapy. This effect was maintained for at least a year. The most frequent adverse events were loss of taste and a dry mouth. 75% of these adverse events were transient. Quality of life had improved significantly in the long term. The final follow-up showed that 80% of the patients were satisfied.

                                                                                                                                                  29th October 2007 : New research

physical activity reduces risk of Parkinson's disease

Movement Disorders [2007] Oct 25; [Epub ahead of print] (Thacker EL, Chen H, Patel AV, McCullough ML, Calle EE, Thun MJ, Schwarzschild MA, Ascherio A.) Complete abstract

The purpose of this study was to investigate associations between recreational physical activity and Parkinson's disease risk. Recreational physical activity was estimated from the reported number of hours per week on average
spent performing light intensity activities (walking, dancing) and moderate to vigorous intensity activities (jogging/running, lap swimming, tennis/racquetball, bicycling/ stationary bike, aerobics/calisthenics). 

The risk of Parkinson's Disease was reduced in those indulging in recreational physical activity. However, when light activity and moderate to vigorous activity were examined separately, it was found that only moderate to vigorous physical activity reduced the risk of Parkinson's Disease. Light activity did not reduce the likelihood of developing Parkinson's Disease.  Gender made no difference.


28th October 2007 : New research

the serious effects of parkinson's disease on spouses

Revue Neurologique (Paris) [2007] 163 (8-9) : 801-807 (Dressen C, Brandel JP, Schneider A, Magar Y, Renon D, Ziegler M.) Complete abstract

Spouses play a major role as care givers for their partners with Parkinson's disease. This part of family nursing turns out to be so demanding that they often feel isolated. While spouses may have access to financial and technical aids, no specific psychological support is available to assist them in coping with the difficulties they have to face. Supporting and educating spouses thus appears today to be a real need. Survey data collected shows that spouses experience great disarray when faced with the disease.

Their perception of Parkinson's disease has a strong anxiety causing effect. Caring for their spouse day to day creates a permanent atmosphere of stress with an insecure feeling generating tensions and major frustrations. Most of the spouses do not allow themselves any break and are overwhelmed with ambivalent feelings. They experience a kind of hostility towards their spouse and at the same time feel guilty for their attitude and also for their helplessness. The disease also leads to an impoverishment of the couples' social network, due to reduced autonomy and fear of other people's way of looking at them.


27th October 2007 : News report

DBS SURGERY causes patients to be impulsive

Doctors have long noticed varying degrees of impulsiveness due to taking Parkinson's Disease drugs, from making uncensored remarks to rare cases of extreme behaviour such as compulsive gambling, shopping, eating or sex. Your brain is supposed to delay you when you make difficult decisions, but Deep Brain Stimulation (DBS) can block that signal - providing another cause of highly impulsive behaviour in Parkinson's Disease. DBS is a method of reducing symptoms that uses electrodes implanted into the brain. For more information go to Deep Brain Stimulation.

Healthy people and Parkinson's patients on dopamine drugs hesitated briefly when faced with win-win or lose-lose choices, allowing them time to weigh options. However,  DBS patients didn't hesitate with lose-lose choices, and actually sped up win-win decisions. They were far found to be far more impulsive. Yet when the implant was switched off, DBS patients stopped rushing decisions. "Because they don't have those brakes in place, you need to teach someone to slow down" when faced with certain decisions. For more information go to the Complete article.


26th October 2007 : History


The Italian artist, engineer and scientist Leonardo da Vinci (1452-1519) also studied anatomy, physiology and medicine. He often dissected corpses at night in order to study the body's functions and structures.  Leonardo wrote and sketched his ideas and observations in secret notebooks, in handwriting that only he could read. For more information go to Leonardo da Vinci. Over 300 years before James Parkinson formally described Parkinson's Disease, Leonardo da Vinci saw people whose symptoms coincided with the tremors seen in Parkinson's Disease. He wrote in his notebooks that "you will see.....those who.....move their trembling parts, such as their heads or hands without permission of the soul; (the) soul with all its forces cannot prevent these parts from trembling."


25th October 2007 : New research

nicotine greatly reduces dyskinesia

Annals of Neurology [2007] Oct 24; [Epub ahead of print] (Quik M, Cox H, Parameswaran N, O'Leary K, Langston JW, Di Monte D.) Complete abstract

One of the more difficult challenges faced by some sufferers of Parkinson's Disease is the dyskinesias - the jerky, uncontrollable movements caused by the most common treatments for Parkinson's Disease. Scientists report that monkeys treated with nicotine had 50% fewer episodes of dyskinesia, compared to monkeys that did not receive nicotine.

The study appears to be the first to examine nicotine as a treatment for dyskinesia. It follows on from far more research showing a reduction of Parkinson's Disease symptoms because of nicotine.  The study will be published in an upcoming issue of the Annals of Neurology. The authors point out that nicotine and smoking is potentially toxic in large doses and can create other health problems. They have consequently suggested that may have to develop a different drug that mimics how nicotine acts, rather than use nicotine itself. For more information go to the Complete article.


24th October 2007 : News report


People with more years of education lose their memory faster than those with less education in the years prior to a diagnosis of dementia, according to a study published in the October 23, 2007, issue of Neurology®. The study found for each additional year of formal education, the accelerated memory decline associated with oncoming dementia was delayed by about two-and-a-half months. However, once that decline stopped, people with more education saw their rate of cognitive decline accelerate 4% faster for each additional year of education. People with more education had more rapid memory loss after diagnosis of dementia. The "study showed that a person with 16 years of formal education would experience a rate of memory decline that is 50% faster than someone with four years of education."  For more information go to the Complete article.


23rd October 2007 : News report


The Parkinson's Disease Society is launching an urgent campaign to raise extra funds in light of what they claim to be a scientific breakthrough in the treatment of Parkinson's Disease. The campaign asks donors to help fund a three year research project at Kings College London, which will explore what they claim to be groundbreaking new discoveries in delaying or halting the progress of the disease. For more information go to the Complete article. It is claimed that they have recently discovered a naturally occuring protective protein in dopamine-producing nerve cells in the brain.

Osteopontin can interfere with the destruction of nerve cells that occurs in Parkinson’s disease. It is suggested that this finding may mean that the causes of Parkinson's rather than just the symptoms can be treated. It is claimed that Osteopontin empowers the brain to heal itself, avoiding debilitating side effects that come from using drugs. For more information go to the Parkinson's Disease Society.

The Parkinson's Disease Society and the same researchers have been claiming breakthroughs for many years, yet not one of them has led to any long term improvement in Parkinson's Disease. Their judgement has been proven to be remarkably poor. The scientific claims and theory behind the requests for funding are fundamentally flawed. Osteopontin is merely an element of bone, that has been known about for over twenty years. For more information go to Osteopontin. The fundamental fault in Parkinson's Disease is known to be the insufficient formation of dopamine, yet even in theory, their approach could not have any direct effect on dopamine formation.  So by claiming this as a breakthrough suggests that neither the funders nor the researchers have a proper understanding of human biochemistry,  Unfortunately this is the norm in medical research. Projects are regularly hailed as "Cure of the month", even though they lack a rational scientific basis.  "This could lead to.......", but of course it never does. 


22nd October 2007 : New research

epilepsy drug for treating parkinson's disease

Expert Review of Neurotherapeutics [2007] 7 (9) : 1077-1083  (Miwa H.) Complete abstract

Zonisamide is an antiepileptic drug used to treat seizures. For more information go to Zonegran (Zonisamide). It is claimed that zonisamide may also be beneficial in various neurological or psychiatric diseases. A study conducted in Japan provided data suggesting that zonisamide, as an add-on treatment, has efficacy in treating motor symptoms in
people with Parkinson's disease. Previous clinical data have been reported. For more information go to the Complete abstract. It is claimed that Zonisamide may be effective in reducing the duration of "off" time in people with Parkinson's Disease treated with L-Dopa.

The therapeutic doses of zonisamide for Parkinson's Disease are considerably lower than those for the treatment of epilepsy. It is expected that zonisamide will be safe and tolerated, as it has been used as an antiepileptic for more than 15 years. However, further studies are required to evaluate its safety and tolerability in the treatment of Parkinson's Disease. The pharmacological mechanisms of the actions of zonisamide in Parkinson's Disease remain unclear. Various hypotheses have been proposed, but supporting data is not sufficient to draw any conclusions.

                                                                                                                                                       21st October 2007 : New research

TRANSDERMAL nicotine for treating parkinson's disease

European Journal of Neurology 2007 Oct 17; [Epub ahead of print] (Villafane G, Cesaro P, Rialland A, Baloul S, Azimi S, Bourdet C, Le Houezec J, Macquin-Mavier I, Maison P.) Complete abstract

Whether nicotine has therapeutic effects on Parkinson's disease symptoms is controversial, but high doses and
chronic treatment using nicotine have never been tested. A pilot, open-label clinical trial was carried out to assess the safety and possible efficacy of chronic high doses of nicotine. Six patients with advanced Parkinson's Disease received increasing daily doses of transdermal nicotine up to high levels for four months. All patients but one accepted the target dose. Nausea and vomiting were frequent but moderate, and occurred in most of the patients. During the high doses, patients improved their muscular scores and dopaminergic treatments were reduced. The researchers suggest the need for a larger and randomized clinical trial.

Smoking is already known to lessen the likelihood of Parkinson's Disease. The reason why nicotine could have an effect on Parkinson's Disease is because it affects the acetylcholine receptors. The effects on acetylcholine receptors antagonise Parkinson's Disease. For more information go to Biochemistry of Parkinson's Disease. However, as with the long term use of most drugs, besides the side effects, there would eventually be an opposite after effect.


20th October 2007 : New research

DOPAMINE AGONIST Fails in its claimed USE

Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews [2007] (4) : CD003634 (van Hilten J, Ramaker C, Stowe R, Ives Nj.) Complete abstract

Drugs that mimic dopamine, such as Bromocriptine (Parlodel), were introduced as monotherapy or in combination with L-Dopa in order to prevent or delay the onset of motor complications in patients with Parkinson's disease. For
more information go to Bromocriptine. However, the role of Bromocriptine has remained controversial. So a systematic review of clinical trials compared Bromocriptine and L-dopa against L-dopa on its own.

The quality of many of the clinical trials of Bromocriptine was found to be poor. The results of the assessment show no evidence of consistent differences between treatment groups concerning the occurrence and severity of motor complications, scores of impairment and disability, or the occurrence of side effects. The authors conclude that there is no evidence to support the use of early Bromocriptine with L-dopa as a strategy to prevent or delay the onset of motor complications in the treatment of  Parkinson's Disease.


19th October 2007 : News report

oscar winning actress dies WITH parkinson's disease

Oscar winning actress Deborah Kerr (1921–2007) has died of the complications of Parkinson's Disease. She won an Academy Award and was nominated six times for an Oscar for best actress. She starred in dozens of films including : The King and I (opposite Yul Brynner), From here to eternity (opposite Burt Lancaster), Quo Vadis, King Solomon's mines, Julius Caesar, The Prisoner of Zenda, Black Narcissus, Casino Royale. For more information go to Deborah Kerr. She was diagnosed with Parkinson's Disease several years ago. The illness led her to move from the Swiss Alps to England, which is where she died. For more information go to the Complete article.


18th October 2007 : New research


Hinyokika Kiyo (Acta Urologica Japonica) [2007] 53 (9) : 609-612 (Shimizu N, Matsumoto S, Mori Y, Yoshioka N, Uemura H, Nakano N, Taneda M.) Complete abstract

Medical treatments based on L-dopa have limitations in severe Parkinson's disease. So electric stimulation therapy (DBS) is also used. Electric stimulation therapy is one of the surgical treatments for Parkinson's disease whereby a chronic stimulating electrode is placed on the subthalmic nucleus. Most Parkinson's disease patients experience lower urinary tract disorders such as urinary urgency, daytime frequency or nocturia, which is frequent urination at night. Researchers conducted an analysis on patients before and after a stimulating electrode was placed. The prostate symptom score, bladder control and bladder capacity all greatly improved, with the prostate score nearly halving,  bladder control doubling, and the bladder capacity nearly doubling.


17th October 2007 : New research


Cellular and Molecular Neurobiology [2007] Oct 13; [Epub ahead of print] (Borah A, Mohanakumar KP.) Complete abstract

The long term use of L-dopa in Parkinson's Disease was already known to lead to motor and psychiatric
complications. In the present study, researchers investigated the long term effects of L-dopa on brain function. Serotonin content was found to be significantly decreased in all regions of the brain as a result of taking L-dopa.  Serotonin is what makes people sleep.

So a lot of the sleep disturbance in Parkinson's Disease may actually be due to taking L-dopa. Dopamine formation, which is the primary problem in Parkinson's Disease, was also found to be severely impaired as a result of taking L-dopa, a substance that is supposed to increase dopamine formation. The imbalance of serotonin and dopamine formation may be the cause of overt cognitive, motor, and psychological functional aberrations seen in Parkinsonian patients following prolonged L-DOPA treatment.


16th October 2007 : History


The English physician John Elliotson (1791-1868) published pamphlets concerning Parkinson's Disease from 1827 to 1831 in the Lancet, which largely consisted of case reports, although some of those he described probably did not  actually have Parkinson’s Disease. Amongst his preferred methods of treatment were bleeding, induction and maintenance of pus building, cauterization, purging, low diet and mercurialization, silver nitrate, arsenic, zinc sulphate, copper compounds, and the administration of iron as a tonic with some porter, which is a kind of dark beer.

Elliotson made the first known claimed cure. He suggested that many young patients could be cured, although unreliably, using the carbonate of iron. On another occasion, John Elliotson reported that the “disease instantly and permanently gave way” when he treated with iron a patient who had proved resistant to all other forms of therapy. This was over a century before iron was found to be essential for the formation of L-dopa. For more information concerning iron's role in Parkinson's Disease go to Biochemistry of Parkinson's Disease.


15th October 2007 : New research

Simvastatin reduces the incidence of dementia and Parkinson's disease

BMC Medicine [2007] 5 : 20 (Wolozin B, Wang SW, Li NC, Lee A, Lee TA, Kazis LE.) Complete abstract

Statins are a class of drug that reduce cholesterol. For more information go to Statins. Whether statins could benefit patients with dementia remained unclear because of conflicting results.

There are a lot of different statins. So it was suggested that the contradictions in the scientific literature might arise from differences in the efficacy of different statins. With further examination, it was found that Simvastatin is associated with a strong reduction in the incidence of dementia and Parkinson's disease, whereas Atorvastatin is associated with a modest reduction in incident dementia and Parkinson's disease. For the full details go to Complete text. How a statin can have an effect on dementia and Parkinson's Disease is not clear, because it has no direct effect on either.

                                                                                                                                                                               14th October 2007 : New research

increased risk of dementia in relatives of people with Parkinson disease

Tidsskrift for den Norske Laegeforening [2007] 127 (19) : 2517-2520 (Halvorsen O, Tysnes OB) Complete abstract

Archives of Neurology [2007] 64 (10) : 1458-1464 (Rocca WA, Bower JH, Ahlskog JE, Elbaz A, Grossardt BR, McDonnell SK, Schaid DJ, Maraganore DM.) Complete abstract

Dementia in Parkinson's disease is more common than previously assumed. Up to 30 % of people with Parkinson's have dementia and almost all patients with Parkinson's disease develop dementia over time. The risk of dementia or cognitive impairment is also increased in relatives of people with Parkinson's Disease. This was found to be 1.37 times more likely.

The likelihood increased to 1.73 times more likely when the onset of Parkinson's Disease  was earlier than 67 years old. Although the researchers suggested that this greater likelihood was genetic,  there is no evidence that genetics play a major part in Parkinson's Disease except in rare cases of genetic mutation. Relatives often pass on a lot of factors to their children that are not genetic, such as diet, environment, drug use, supplement use, physical activity, all of which could alter the likelihood of illness.

                                                                                                                                                                              13th October 2007 : News report


An unexpected role in the brain has been reported for septins, which are proteins that enable a yeast cell to divided into two cells. For more information go to Septins. Septins are also found in humans - mostly in the brain. It has been found that septins help neurons sprout protrusions that enable them to communicate with other neurons. Septins were found to act like scaffolding, enabling other proteins to fulfill their roles as builders of the cell infrastructure.

An abundance of septin made the means by which cells communicate grow and proliferate while a lack of septin made them small and malformed. The researchers are consequently exploring ways to prevent septin breakdown and loss. For more information go to the Complete article. The inadequacy with this approach, is that it does not, even in theory, increase dopamine formation, which is the primary fault in Parkinson's Disease. Increasing the communication between nerve cells simply does not address the problem of  Parkinson's Disease.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                     12th October 2007 : New research


American Journal of Industrial Medicine [2007] Oct 4; [Epub ahead of print] (Lucchini RG, Albini E, Benedetti L, Borghesi S, Coccaglio R, Malara EC, Parrinello G, Garattini S, Resola S, Alessio L.) Complete abstract

Manganese has been known to be a potential cause of Parkinson's Disease, particularly in those working with manganese. For more information got to Toxic causes of Parkinson's Disease. The prevalence of Parkinson's Disease was assessed in relationship to environmental exposure to manganese due to ferroalloy industries in Brescia, Italy.

Manganese concentrations in settled dust were significantly higher in the surroundings and downwind from the industrial plants. In the vicinities of ferromanganese plants were the world's highest known prevalence of Parkinson's Disease (407 / 100,000). The results of this study suggest that environmental exposure to industrial manganese is strongly associated with an increased prevalence of Parkinsonian disturbances. Since the highest prevalence rates were observed in a closed community of the pre-Alps where the industries are located, further research may demonstrate a possible interactive role of genetic factors.

                                                                                                                                                                              11th October 2007 : New research

HEIGHTENED INTEREST IN gambling, shopping, eating or sex in Parkinson's disease

Journal of Psychopharmacology [2007] 21 (5) : 501-506 (Giladi N, Weitzman N, Schreiber S, Shabtai H, Peretz C.) Complete abstract

Alterations of impulse control that have recently been associated with Parkinson's disease are serious behavioural disturbances with significant impact on patients and their families. People with Parkinson's Disease were queried on the presence of new onset heightened interest or drive for gambling, shopping, eating or sexual activity. These were above the norm, especially in males and those taking dopamine agonists. Other recent research also found that these impulse disorders can be caused by dopamine agonists.  For more information see the
Complete abstract.



11th October 2007 : News report


It has been claimed that Modafinil can reduced physical fatigue commonly seen in patients with Parkinson's disease.
For more information go to the Complete article. Modafinil is approved for the sleep disorder Narcolepsy. For more information go to Modafinil. Although the researchers claimed that "there's no need to wait to start using modafinil", only nine patients were assessed, and the effects were not profound. As the effects were achieved by artificial means, the body would eventually react against it.


10th October 2007 : New clinical trial results


Two clinical trials were carried out on Neupro® (Rotigotine Transdermal System), a once-daily non-ergolinic dopamine agonist patch. Neupro® is designed to mimic the action of dopamine, which is a naturally produced neurotransmitter crucial for proper motor functioning. The system is applied to the skin once a day and provides rotigotine continuously to the body for 24 hours. 49% of patients showed a 30% improvement or more in early morning motor function. Nocturnal akinesia - inability to move at night - was reduced by 56%, and improvement was also noted in nocturnal dystonia - painful muscle contraction - and cramps. Neupro® improved sleep quality, reduced excessive daytime sleepiness, decreased night-time urinary symptoms (nocturias). The most frequently reported adverse events in patients treated with Neupro® were application site reactions (20%), nausea (19%), and somnolence (11%).

Additionally, new, interim safety data from a four-year clinical trial were presented. The majority of participants (73%) remained in the study at 33 months, with 13% discontinuing due to adverse events. There was a 6.5% incidence of dyskinesia. The most frequently reported adverse events among patients treated with Neupro® in this trial were somnolence (41%), application site reactions (23%), most of which were rated as mild (95%), nausea (18%) and dizziness (20%). For more information go to the Complete article.

Unfortunately, besides the various side effects, the problem with all dopamine agonists is that they become progressively counterproductive because they decrease the sensitivity of  the  dopamine receptors that they initially stimulate. This causes an ever increasing reliance on dopamine agonists solely in order to maintain the therapeutic effect that there was at the outset.


9th October 2007 : News report

Parkinson's Sufferers claiming Chinese Stem Cell Treatment to be Effective

Tiantan Puhua Neurosurgical Hospital, the world's leading center for treatment of Parkinson's disease using adult retinal stem cells, has announced that four more international patients returned home from China with a significant reduction in their Parkinson's Disease symptoms. The full details and videos of the progress of each of the patients experiences can be seen at Stem Cells China. For more information go to the Complete article.

It was previously claimed that stem cell therapy was going to cure Parkinson's Disease. Yet all of the stem cell patients whose experiences are detailed here still have Parkinson's Disease. Their improvement is quite moderate, and far from a cure, even according to their own descriptions. The use of stem cells in Parkinson's Disease is based on the assumption that there is considerable loss of the cells that produce dopamine. However, not a single study has ever shown this. Therefore, there is no rational reason to replace these cells using stem cells. The stem cells will certainly supply the patient with a fresh supply of dopamine, but this will inevitably run out. So even what improvement there has been may be short lived.


9th October 2007 : New research


Cancer Epidemiology Biomarkers Prevention [2007] 16 (6) : 1260-1265 (Driver JA, Logroscino G, Buring JE, Gaziano JM, Kurth T.) Complete abstract

Previous studies suggested a decreased risk of cancer amongst people with Parkinson's disease. However, when matched against those of the same age, people with Parkinson's Disease have been found to be six times more likely to develop Melanoma, which is a type of skin cancer. For more information go to Melanoma.

In contrast, people with Parkinson's Disease were less likely to develop most other cancers - 54% of the normal rate for colorectal cancer, 68% of the normal rate for bladder cancer, and 74% of the normal rate for prostate cancer. The chance of developing lung cancer was only 32% of the normal rate except for those people with Parkinson's Disease that smoked, who had nearly double the expected rate of lung cancer. A separate new study has shown an increased likelihood in Parkinson's Disease of other skin cancers.  For more information see the Complete abstract.

Melanoma may be far more common in Parkinson's Disease because of their common biochemistry. Parkinson's Disease is due to a lack of dopamine, which is made from L-tyrosine (L-tyrosine >>> L-dopa >>> dopamine). Melanoma becomes much more likely when there is a lack of the skin pigment melanin, which is also made from L-tyrosine (L-tyrosine >>> L-dopa >>> melanin). So the high coincidence of Parkinson's Disease and Melanoma may be largely due to a lack of L-tyrosine - a dietary substance that is normally obtained from eating high protein foods.


8th October 2007 : New research


Clinical Neuropharmacology [2007] 30 (5) : 295-300 (Ondo WG, Sethi KD, Kricorian G.)  Complete abstract

Most patients on long-term L-Dopa therapy eventually experience deterioration at the end of the L-Dopa dosing interval. Selegiline orally disintegrating tablet (ODT), which is marketed as Zelapar is a selective monoamine oxidase B inhibitor developed to extend the effect of L-Dopa. For more information go to Zelapar. A clinical trial was conducted to see if it actually had the beneficial effect that was claimed. However, this study showed that it made no significant difference. The result of this study contrasts with an identically designed study that showed a significant improvement after taking Selegiline ODT.


7th October 2007 : News report


As many as 25% of people with Parkinson's Disease are wrongly diagnosed. Avid Radiopharmaceuticals are conducting a clinical trial investigating the compound (18)F-AV-133 for imaging patients with movement disorders, including Parkinson's Disease, in order to enable better diagnosis.

The compound will be used with Positron emission tomography (PET) scanning. PET scanning is a means of obtaining a three-dimensional image of functional processes in the body. In Parkinson's Disease, the image can show if function is reduced.  For more information go to Positron emission tomography. PET imaging in this particular case targets vesicular monoamine transporters (VMAT2) in the brain.  It is suggested by Avid Radiopharmaceuticals that this new compound may enable more accurate and earlier diagnosis of Parkinson's Disease than the compounds currently being used. For more information go to the Complete article.


6th October 2007 : New research


Nature Cell Biology [2007] Sep 30; [Epub ahead of print] (Plun-Favreau H, Klupsch K, Moisoi N, Gandhi S, Kjaer S, Frith D, Harvey K, Deas E, Harvey RJ, McDonald N, Wood NW, Martins LM, Downward J.)  Complete abstract

It has been claimed that the discovery of a relationship between two cell enzymes and their role in keeping the cell's energy generating machinery working smoothly could provide a new target for the development of therapies for Parkinson's disease.

The products of two genes called HtrA2 and PINK1 have been found to cooperate in preventing breakdown of cell function that it is claimed could otherwise lead to Parkinson's symptoms. By protecting the mitochondria (the main energy producing part of the cells), it is suggested that these two genes help to limit environmental stress within these cells, and thereby maintain their healthy function.  For more information go to the Complete article.

The primary fault in idiopathic Parkinson's Disease is known to be the insufficient formation of dopamine. For more information go to Biochemistry of Parkinson's Disease. Any method of ridding Parkinson's Disease would have to increase dopamine formation. Even in theory, information derived from this study could not do that. Because these two genes cooperate in preventing cell dysfuntion does not mean that cell damage is the primary cause of Parkinson's Disease, and contrary to what is widely claimed no such study has ever demonstrated that it is.


6th October 2007 : New research

glutamate is reduced in Parkinson's disease

NMR in Biomedicine [2007] Oct 1; [Epub ahead of print] (Griffith HR, Okonkwo OC, O'brien T, Hollander JA.)  Complete abstract

Glutamate is a substance in the brain that has widespread biochemical effects. An understanding of its complete role in Parkinson's disease has remained elusive. Suggestions have been made that over-activity of Glutamate receptors complicates the motor
symptoms of Parkinson's Disease and that Glutmate blockade may be a pharmacological target in Parkinson's Disease. 

However, Glutamate levels have now been found to be reduced in Parkinson's Disease, suggesting that a reduction in Glutamate occurs in the cerebral cortex. Glutamate (Glutamic acid) is normally obtained in the diet from high protein foods. So somebody can readily increase their intake of Glutamate. For more information go to Glutamate. In the brain, Glutamate can turn in to GABA, a substance whose deficiency can cause Dystonia. So the lack of Glutamate now known to occur in Parkinson's Disease is probably why Dystonia is so common in Parkinson's Disease.


5th October 2007 : New research


Brain [2007] Sep 28; [Epub ahead of print] (Kiss ZH, Doig-Beyaert K, Eliasziw M, Tsui J, Haffenden A, Suchowersky O)  Complete abstract

Deep brain stimulation (DBS) surgery is an effective treatment for generalized dystonia. For more information go to Deep Brain Stimulation. Its role in the management of other types of Dystonia is uncertain.

Therefore a study was performed assessing the efficacy and safety of DBS in patients with severe, chronic, medication-resistant cervical (neck) dystonia.  The severity score improved from an average  of 14.7 (4.2) before surgery to 8.4 (4.4) at 12 months post-operatively. The disability and pain scores improved from 14.9 (3.8) and 26.6 (3.6) before surgery, to 5.4 (7.0) and 9.2 (13.1) at 12 months, respectively. General health, physical functioning, and depression improved significantly. Complications were mild and reversible in four patients. Some changes in neuropsychological tests were observed, although these did not impact daily life or employment.


4th October 2007 : New research


Journal of Neurology, Neurosurgery and Psychiatry [2007] 78 (10) : 1140-1142 (Gerdelat-Mas A, Simonetta-Moreau M, Thalamas C, Ory-Magne F, Slaoui T, Rascol O, Brefel-Courbon C. ) Complete abstract

Patients suffering from Parkinson's disease describe painful sensations that could be related to neuropathic pain. The objective of this study was to assess and compare the effect of L-dopa on the objective pain threshold in patients with Parkinson's Disease and in healthy subjects. L-dopa significantly increased the pain threshold of Parkinson's patients in the "Off" condition and the "On" condition. People with Parkinson's Disease in the "Off" condition were also found to be more prone to pain than healthy subjects. As L-dopa reduces excessive muscle contraction, L-dopa will make somebody less prone to the muscle contraction that can lead to muscular cramps - a problem that can effect people with or without Parkinson's Disease.


3rd October 2007 : New research


Journal of Neurology, Neurosurgery and Psychiatry [2007] 78 (10) : 1064-1068 (Bronnick K, Emre M, Lane R, Tekin S, Aarsland D) Complete abstract

Dementia associated with Parkinson's disease is distinctively different from that seen in Alzheimer's disease. Diagnosis between the two was predicted from the cognitive profile, with an overall accuracy of nearly 75%.

Performance on tests of orientation and attention were the best in differentiating between the two, with Alzheimer's patients performing poorly on orientation, and Parkinson's patients suffering from poor attention. Both groups showed memory impairment, Alzheimer's disease patients performing worse than Parkinson's disease dementia patients. On the verbal memory tasks both groups were clearly impaired relative to a normal control group, with very large effects. For more information go to the Complete article.


2nd October 2007 : News report

IRON ACCUMULATION IN parkinson's disease

European scientists have developed a new technique to detect attogram quantities of iron in living cells, claiming that this has enabled them provide further evidence of the role that iron plays in Parkinson's disease. They used powerful X-ray radiation from a synchrotron to track iron in cells cultured from rats. When they compared the images they got from normal cells and cells treated to mimic the onset of Parkinson's disease, they found that iron was accumulating inside the dopamine storing vesicles of the cells. because of this they assumed that iron plays a part in the development of Parkinson's Disease. For more information go to the Complete article

This research is based on a false assumption. Ferrous iron is essential for somebody to be able to form their own L-dopa. Without a sufficient intake of ferrous iron somebody can develop Parkinson's Disease. For more information go to Biochemistry of Parkinson's Disease. When L-tyrosine is not available to form L-dopa, there is also a tendency for iron to accumulate in order to overcome the lack of L-tyrosine. This is a common compensatory mechanism in human biochemistry. So instead of iron accumulation causing Parkinson's Disease,  it is Parkinson's Disease that can cause the  iron accumulation. Hereditary Hemochromatosis causes severe iron accumulation. So if iron accumulation really caused Parkinson's Disease, everybody with Hereditary Hemochromatosis would also have the symptoms of Parkinson's Disease, but they don't. For more information go to Hereditary Hemochromatosis.



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