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Research has found that higher levels of an antioxidant linked with gout slows the spread of Parkinson’s disease.
A clinical trial has been launched to examine whether urate levels in blood and cerebrospinal fluid pose any potential advantages for patients.
The new research is the first to analyse associations between urate in cerebrospinal fluid, found in the brain and spinal cord, and the course of the illness.
Says Margaret Sutherland, of the US government’s National Institute of Neurological Disorders: “This study has identified urate as a bio-marker for the progression of the disease and suggests a potential new pathway for targeted therapy development.”
Earlier studies did not reveal any immediate proof that increasing the amount of urate in blood and cerebrospinal fluid could fight the degenerative disease, but supported theories that the progress of Parkinson’s could be better predicted.
Aided by the US government and private organisations, scientists studied data and tissue samples from 800 patients with Parkinson’s collected in the 1980s, and published it in the Archives of Neurology journal.
Brain cells controlling movement are affected by the illness, which progressively disables patients.
Consuming foods like liver, seafood, dried beans and peas raise urate levels, also linked with gout – a condition causing pain, inflammation and swelling in joints, researchers said.
Copyright Press Association 2009