Two recent studies have found the high levels of urate, the cause of , may slow, or even help prevent, the progression of Parkinson’s disease symptoms.
Urate, which is a salt formed from uric acid, is naturally produced in the body. It is known that too much urate can result in problems like , however, it does have powerful antioxidant properties which could protect neurons in the brain against damage.
The first study was conducted by Dr, Honglei Chen from the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences in Research Triangle Park, North Carolina. Dr. Chen and colleagues utilized data from a population-based group of people who were followed for 20 years. This included nearly 16,000 people between 45 and 64 years of age. Of this group, 95 potential cases of Parkinson’s disease were identified.
The researchers determined that the participants that had the highest levels of urate had a 60% lower risk of developing Parkinson’s disease when compared to those with the lowest urate levels.
The results of this study were published in the Journal of Epidemiology on May 1, 2009.
The second study was led by Dr. Michael Schwarzschild and Alberto Ascherio of Massachusetts General Hospital.
The researchers used data from Deprenyl and Tocopherol Antioxidative Therapy of Parkinsonism (DATATOP) trial, which was begun 20 years ago by Dr. Ira Shoulson at the University of Rochester Medical Center. This included blood samples, cerbospinal fluid and other information covering an 8 year period. This included data from 800 people with Parkinson’s disease.
Drs. Schwarzschild and Ascherio found that there was a slower progression of the disease in those patients who had the highest levels of urate as opposed to those with the lowest levels. They suggest investigating increasing urate concentration in the as a potential strategy to slow the progression of Parkinson’s disease.
This study was published online, October 12, 2009, in the Archives of Neurology.