Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Elevated Urate Levels May Slow The Progression Of Parkinson's Disease

Date:
April 15, 2008
Source:
Massachusetts General Hospital
Summary:
Naturally elevated levels of the antioxidant urate may slow the progression of Parkinson's disease in men. Researchers examined data from an earlier study and found that, among recently diagnosed Parkinson's patients, those with the highest urate levels had a significantly slower rate of disease progression during the two-year study period.

Naturally elevated levels of the antioxidant urate may slow the progression of Parkinson's disease in men. Researchers from the MassGeneral Institute for Neurodegenerative Disease (MGH-MIND) and Harvard School of Public Health (HSPH) examined data from an earlier study and found that, among recently diagnosed Parkinson's patients, those with the highest urate levels had a significantly slower rate of disease progression during the two-year study period. The report appears in the April 2008 Archives of Neurology and may lead to urate-based therapies for the disorder.

Parkinson's disease -- characterized by tremors, rigidity, difficulty walking and other symptoms -- is caused by the destruction of brain cells that produce the neurotransmitter dopamine. Several epidemiologic studies, including the HSPH-based Health Professionals Follow-up Study, have found that healthy people with elevated levels of urate, a normal component of the blood, may have a reduced risk of developing Parkinson's disease.

"Because the neurodegenerative process that leads to Parkinson's disease starts years before the onset of symptoms and progresses throughout the disease course, we reasoned that blood urate could be slowing the rate of neurodegeneration and hypothesized that urate's beneficial effect might extend beyond the time of diagnosis," says Alberto Ascherio, MD, DrPH, of HSPH, the study's senior author.

To investigate this hypothesis, the MGH/HSPH team analyzed information from the PRECEPT trial conducted by the Parkinson Study Group, based at the University of Rochester. That study followed a group of recently diagnosed Parkinson's patients to see if an experimental medication could delay disease progression, measured by the need to begin standard drug therapy and by imaging of the brain structures that produce dopamine. Blood samples from about 800 PRECEPT trial participants were analyzed for urate levels, which were compared to information about symptom progression of the trial participants and the imaging study results.

The results showed that participants with the highest urate levels at the beginning of the study had about half the risk of needing to start Parkinson's treatment drugs as did those with the lowest levels. The brain scans indicated that participants with higher urate levels also lost the fewest dopamine-producing neurons. The association of urate levels with risk of progression was seen both in those receiving the drug studied in the PRECEPT trial -- which did not have significant results -- and in the placebo group. Men are known to have higher urate levels, and since there were only a few women among those with elevated urate, results of the current analysis were not significant for women. The potential of urate to treat female Parkinson's patients needs to be investigated in future studies, the researchers note.

"These findings, combined with prior knowledge of urate's protective properties in laboratory studies, raise the possibility that urate-elevating strategies could be used to slow the neurodegeneration of Parkinson's disease," says Michael Schwarzschild, MD, PhD, of MGH-MIND, the study's lead author. "Potential benefits of urate have to be tempered against the known risks of elevated urate levels, which include gout and kidney stones. From what we know now, urate elevation should only be attempted in the context of a closely monitored clinical trial, in which potential benefits and risks are carefully balanced."

Schwarzschild and Ascherio, with an award from The Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson's Research, are teaming up with Parkinson Study Group doctors from across the country to conduct a multicenter Phase 2 trial, being announced by the Foundation April 14. Ninety people newly diagnosed with Parkinson's but not yet needing treatment will be treated with the urate precursor inosine or a placebo.

Journal reference: Arch Neurol. 2008;65[6]:(doi:10.1001/archneur.2008.65.6.nct70003).


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Massachusetts General Hospital. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

Massachusetts General Hospital. "Elevated Urate Levels May Slow The Progression Of Parkinson's Disease." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 15 April 2008. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/04/080414161549.htm>.
Massachusetts General Hospital. (2008, April 15). Elevated Urate Levels May Slow The Progression Of Parkinson's Disease. ScienceDaily. Retrieved August 21, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/04/080414161549.htm
Massachusetts General Hospital. "Elevated Urate Levels May Slow The Progression Of Parkinson's Disease." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/04/080414161549.htm (accessed August 21, 2014).

Share This




More Health & Medicine News

Thursday, August 21, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Possible Ebola Patient in Isolation at California Hospital

Possible Ebola Patient in Isolation at California Hospital

Reuters - US Online Video (Aug. 20, 2014) — A patient who may have been exposed to the Ebola virus is in isolation at the Kaiser Permanente South Sacramento Medical Center. Linda So reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Raw: World's Oldest Man Lives in Japan

Raw: World's Oldest Man Lives in Japan

AP (Aug. 20, 2014) — A 111-year-old Japanese was certified as the world's oldest man by Guinness World Records on Wednesday. Sakari Momoi, a native of Fukushima in northern Japan, was given a certificate at a hospital in Tokyo. (Aug. 20) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Do More Wedding Guests Make A Happier Marriage?

Do More Wedding Guests Make A Happier Marriage?

Newsy (Aug. 20, 2014) — A new study found couples who had at least 150 guests at their weddings were more likely to report being happy in their marriages. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Ebola-Hit Sierra Leone's Freetown a City on Edge

Ebola-Hit Sierra Leone's Freetown a City on Edge

AFP (Aug. 19, 2014) — Residents of Sierra Leone's capital voice their fears as the Ebola virus sweeps through west Africa. Duration: 00:56 Video provided by AFP
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