Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

High Blood Levels Of Urate Linked To Lower Risk Of Parkinson's Disease

Date:
June 22, 2007
Source:
Harvard School of Public Health
Summary:
In a new, large-scale, prospective study exploring the link between levels of urate in the blood and risk of Parkinson's disease, researchers have found that high levels of urate are strongly associated with a reduced risk of the disease. Urate is a normal component of blood, and although high levels can lead to gout, urate might also have beneficial effects because it is a potent antioxidant.

In a new, large-scale, prospective study exploring the link between levels of urate in the blood and risk of Parkinson's disease, researchers from the Harvard School of Public Health (HSPH) have found that high levels of urate are strongly associated with a reduced risk of the disease.

Urate is a normal component of blood, and although high levels can lead to gout, urate might also have beneficial effects because it is a potent antioxidant. Parkinson's disease is a chronic, progressive nerve disorder associated with destruction of brain cells producing dopamine, a neurotransmitter essential to the normal functioning of the central nervous system.

"This is the strongest evidence to date that urate may protect against Parkinson's disease," said lead author Marc Weisskopf, Assistant Professor of Environmental and Occupational Epidemiology at HSPH.

The researchers used the HSPH-based Health Professionals Follow-up Study, a population of male health professionals established in 1986, as the source for their data. The study cohort included more than 18,000 men without Parkinson's disease who had provided blood samples between 1993 and 1995 and whose subsequent health status was followed.

The researchers found that men in the top quartile of blood urate concentration had 55 percent lower risk of developing Parkinson's disease than men in the bottom quartile. This difference was not explained by differences in age or other risk factors for Parkinson's disease. The results of two previous studies had suggested a possible inverse relation between blood urate and risk of Parkinson's disease, but it is only when the previous data were combined with those of this new study that the evidence became compelling.

The authors hypothesize that urate's antioxidant properties may help dampen the effects of oxidative stress, which appears to contribute to the progressive loss of the dopamine-producing brain cells that occurs in individuals with Parkinson's disease. If so, elevating blood urate could be helpful for patients with Parkinson's disease, said Alberto Ascherio, Associate Professor of Nutrition and Epidemiology at HSPH and senior author of the study. To follow-up on this clue, Ascherio, along with co-author Michael Schwarzschild, a movement disorder specialist at Massachusetts General Hospital, and colleagues at the Parkinson Study Group, a collaborative group of Parkinson's disease researchers from the U.S. and Canada, accessed the databases of two large, randomized studies conducted among patients with early Parkinson's disease. The preliminary results, presented in abstract form at recent meetings, showed a slower progression of the disease among individuals with high blood urate.

"It is still uncertain whether urate exerts a neuroprotective effect, but approaches to elevating urate levels are nonetheless worth considering as a potential neuroprotective strategy," said Ascherio, who is now collaborating with Schwarzschild and others in the design of a clinical trial in individuals with Parkinson's disease to examine this possibility. "But elevating blood urate increases the risk of kidney stones and may have adverse cardiovascular effects and should only be attempted in the context of a closely monitored randomized trial until beneficial effects are proven," he added.

The study was supported by National Institutes of Health/National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke, the Kinetics Foundation and the Intramural Research Program of the National Institutes of Health/National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences.

The findings were published in The American Journal of Epidemiology. "Plasma Urate and Risk of Parkinson's Disease," M. G. Weisskopf, E. O'Reilly, H. Chen, M. A. Schwarzschild and A. Ascherio, American Journal of Epidemiology, published online June 20, 2007.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Harvard School of Public Health. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

Harvard School of Public Health. "High Blood Levels Of Urate Linked To Lower Risk Of Parkinson's Disease." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 22 June 2007. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2007/06/070621102546.htm>.
Harvard School of Public Health. (2007, June 22). High Blood Levels Of Urate Linked To Lower Risk Of Parkinson's Disease. ScienceDaily. Retrieved September 17, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2007/06/070621102546.htm
Harvard School of Public Health. "High Blood Levels Of Urate Linked To Lower Risk Of Parkinson's Disease." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2007/06/070621102546.htm (accessed September 17, 2014).

Share This



More Health & Medicine News

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

President To Send 3,000 Military Personnel To Fight Ebola

President To Send 3,000 Military Personnel To Fight Ebola

Newsy (Sep. 16, 2014) President Obama is expected to send 3,000 troops to West Africa as part of the effort to contain Ebola's spread. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Obama Orders Military Response to Ebola

Obama Orders Military Response to Ebola

AP (Sep. 16, 2014) Calling the Ebola outbreak in West Africa a potential threat to global security, President Barack Obama is ordering 3,000 U.S. military personnel to the stricken region amid worries that the outbreak is spiraling out of control. (Sept. 16) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
UN: 20,000 Could Be Infected With Ebola by Year End

UN: 20,000 Could Be Infected With Ebola by Year End

AFP (Sep. 16, 2014) Nearly $1.0 billion dollars is needed to fight the Ebola outbreak raging in west Africa, the United Nations say, warning that 20,000 could be infected by year end. Duration: 00:40 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Obama: Ebola Outbreak Threat to Global Security

Obama: Ebola Outbreak Threat to Global Security

AP (Sep. 16, 2014) President Obama is ordering U.S. military personnel to West Africa to deal with the Ebola outbreak, which is he calls a potential threat to global security. (Sept. 16) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

    Technology News



    Save/Print:
    Share:

    Free Subscriptions


    Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

    Get Social & Mobile


    Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

    Have Feedback?


    Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
    Mobile: iPhone Android Web
    Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
    Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
    Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins