Thursday, 30 June 2011


Lithium protects against oxidative stress-mediated cell death in α-synuclein-overexpressing in-vitro and in-vivo models of Parkinson's disease.

Yong-Hwan Kim, Anand Rane, Stephanie Lussier, Julie K. Andersen
Journal of Neuroscience Research
Article first published online: 24 JUN 2011

An interesting article published this week online. Whilst this is an encouraging finding given that lithium was shown to reduce cell loss in this animal model of Parkinson's, it is important to remember that this is very early work and must be investigated further. The animal models of Parkinson's, whilst similar to the disease in humans, are not identical and therefore what works in animals may not perform the same in humans. However, if these results could be replicated, this would be important. Lithium is a well established drug that has been used for many years in psychiatric medicine and the safety/side effects are well known. It would also be much cheaper than emerging, newly designed drugs.

In summary, an interesting finding but one that needs a lot more study.

Tuesday, 28 June 2011

Secondary Analysis of the ADAGIO study

The ADAGIO study investigated whether rasagiline has disease-modifying effects in Parkinson's disease. In the original/primary analysis it was shown that 1mg of rasagiline showed some benefit, but that 2mg did not. The reason for this was difficult to explain but it raised a number of questions, such as:

1) Does the design of these trials allow you to determine whether the study is truly modifying the underlying disease process or not?
2) Does the drug in question (rasagiline) truly modify the underlying disease or is it just improving symptoms?
3) Are the right patients being selected into these trials?

The new, secondary analysis is available online at the Lancet Neurology site.

Wednesday, 22 June 2011

Parkinson's artificial brain bank

This link takes you to an article on the BBC's website about the Oxford University team that are using a variety of approaches to try and cure Parkinson's. Their exciting project has 3 different strands of investigation that are all complimentary and will hopefully lead to significant advances in the field.

Researchers in this area think it is important not just find out about the symptoms that precede typical Parkinson's, but also what is going on under the microscope in various organs of the body including the brain, eyes, skin and gut. That is why so many projects in this field ask their participants if they will contribute biological samples such as blood, for further analysis.

Monday, 20 June 2011

The Predict PD Blog

Thank you to those of you that are accessing this blog for the first time. This is a new forum for discussion of Parkinson's-related research, comments and questions. I hope that people with Parkinson's, doctors that treat Parkinson's and the participants in the Predict PD study will use it regularly. Over the next few weeks I will blog on the feedback points that Predict PD participants have highlighted, as there are some common themes. Please submit your comments and any further thoughts that this blog generates.

Thursday, 16 June 2011

Do non-motor symptoms in Parkinson's disease differ from normal aging?

Movement Disorders Journal 
Syam Krishnan, Gangadhara Sarma, Sankara Sarma and Asha Kishore
Article first published online: 9 JUN 2011 | DOI: 10.1002/mds.23826

Background: Non-motor symptoms in Parkinson's disease are frequent and affect health-related quality of life of patients. The severity and domains of nonmotor symptoms involved in Parkinson's disease and normal aging have not been compared before.Methods: We performed a prospective case–control study to assess the frequency and severity of non-motor symptoms in patients with Parkinson's disease (n = 174) and age-matched normal controls (n = 128) using the Non-Motor Symptoms Scale.Results:Nonmotor symptoms in Parkinson's disease were ubiquitous, more frequent, and more severe than in normal aging, particularly in women. Cardiovascular, mood/cognition, and perceptual problems/hallucinations domains were rarely involved in age-matched controls. Age had no effect and sex some influence on nonmotor symptoms in Parkinson's disease. In contrast, in controls, nonmotor symptoms increased with age, and sex had no effect.Conclusions: Non-motor symptoms in Parkinson's disease differ from those in aging in frequency, severity, sex predilection, and domain involvement.

Wednesday, 15 June 2011

New Parkinsons and Predict PD information site

I'm pleased to say that a sister site for the Predict PD project, which contains both study information and also general Parkinson's information is close to being launched. Please advise if there is any information you would specifically like to see on this site. Further details on launch to follow.

Movement Disorders Society 15th Annual Congress Toronto

The 15th Annual MDS Congress was held last week in Toronto. There was a wide range of presentations on current hot topics including the genetics of Parkinson's, recent clinical trials of drugs to treat Parkinson's and early reports from studies trying to identify people at risk of Parkinson's. I would invite interested people to suggest which of these, and related topics, they would like to see represented in this blog. Please email me on or post a response below.

Plain English - LRRK2 G2019S Parkinson's disease with more benign phenotype than idiopathic

This research study compared patients with Parkinson's who carry the commonest gene mutation associated with the disease (called LRRK2),...