Science and Technology
publicado em 24/06/2011 às 03h00:00
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Lithium prevents brain damage associated with Parkinson's disease

Research in rats following for pre-clinical phase, scientists are now working on creating human clinical trials

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Lithium prevents the aggregation of toxic proteins and cell loss associated with Parkinson's disease in rats. The discovery by researchers is the Buck Institute for Research on Aging, the United States.

Preclinical research at the Institute are under way to determine correct dosages of a drug that remains the standard for the treatment of bipolar disorder.

"This is the first time that lithium was tested in an animal model of Parkinson's," said lead author Julie Andersen. "The fact that the safety profile of lithium in humans is well understood greatly reduces the risk of trial and reduces a significant barrier to take it to clinical practice."

According to Andersen, lithium was recently suggested to be neuroprotective against several neurodegenerative diseases including Alzheimer's, Huntington's disease and amyotrophic lateral sclerosis and has been praised for its anti-aging in simple animals.

"We feed our rats with lithium levels that were at the lower end of therapeutic range," said Andersen. "The ability of lithium to be effective in patients with subclinical levels in Parkinson's exciting, because it would avoid many side effects associated with the higher dose."

Excessive use of lithium has been associated with hyperthyroidism and renal toxicity.

Parkinson's is a progressive, incurable neurodegenerative disorder that affects 1 million Americans and results in tremors, slow movement and rigidity. Age is the major risk factor for Parkinson's, usually beginning between the ages of 45 and 70 years.

The study by Andersen and his team is focused on lithium as a potential treatment for Parkinson's, as well as its effectiveness in combination with drugs currently used to control symptoms of the disease.

Web searches reveal stories of patients who are using Lithium without prescription as part of their treatment regimen for the disease, others have reported benefits derived from low doses of lithium salts that are available as a supplement in some health food stores.

"This discovery gives us an opportunity to explore lithium as a therapy for Parkinson's recognized at doses that are safe and effective," said Andersen.

   Palavras-chave:   Parkinson    Lithium    Buck Institute for Research on Aging    Julie Andersen   
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