November 1, 2017

Health Roundup: Parkinson's edition

Diabetes drug cuts Parkinson's risk by helping the body to self-clean damaged or aging brain cells

A drug prescribed for diabetes patients reduces the risk of developing Parkinson's disease by more than a quarter, a major study has found.  Researchers from the University of Bergen in Norway discovered glitazones (GTZs) had a protective effect against the degenerative neurological disease.  GTZs users saw a 28 percent drop in their chances of developing it compared with people on metformin, which is the most common medication for type 2 diabetes.  GTZs – also known as thiazolidinediones – are approved in the US and the UK for the metabolic disorder, but are not the primary treatment. They are thought to work by helping the body to self-clean damaged or aging brain cells....The study by a team from the University of Bergen in Norway analyzed data from the Norwegian Prescription Database, which holds data on all medications dispensed in pharmacies across Norway, and found more that 100,00 that met the study criteria but there were a number of limitations to their study so the findings cannot be generalized to the population as a whole.

Is a CURE for Parkinson's disease in the pipeline?

Scientists crack the secret behind the enzyme thought to be responsible for the condition.  In early-onset Parkinson’s, a PINK1 mutation causes it to lose its protective function, leading to the degeneration of cells in the brain that control movement.  PINK1 encodes a special class of enzyme, known as a kinase, that plays a critical role in protecting brain cells against stress. Previous research has shown that the main role of the PINK1 enzyme is to sense damage to the energy centers, or mitochondria, of cells.  This then switches on a protective pathway involving two key proteins, known as ubiquitin and Parkin, to reduce the damage. Scottish experts have now worked out the 3D structure of the PINK1 enzyme.  Their findings have been dubbed 'vital' and 'fantastic' by the medical community.

Using asthma inhalers HALVES the risk of developing Parkinson's disease in old age,

Asthma inhalers may protect patients from Parkinson's disease, a major new study suggests. Full of salbutamol, researchers found the medication halves the risk of developing the devastating neurological condition.  It is believed the drug, used in blue inhalers, stops abnormal clumps of a protein from accumulating in the brain - a hallmark of Parkinson's.  The 'landmark' findings, made by Norwegian and US scientists, could open up new avenues for potential new treatments for the incurable disease. Study author Professor Trond Riise said: 'These medicines have never been studied in relation to Parkinson's disease.  'Our discoveries may be the start of a totally new possible treatment for this serious disease. We expect that clinical studies will follow these discoveries.'
Posted by Jill Fallon at November 1, 2017 2:31 PM | Permalink