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Common Antioxidant Might Slow Parkinson's
Date:10/13/2009

But too much urate can also cause trouble, so more study is needed, experts say

TUESDAY, Oct. 13 (HealthDay News) -- A new look at some old data adds convincing evidence that high body fluid levels of the antioxidant urate slow the progressive nerve damage of Parkinson's disease.

However, the researchers also warned of the potential danger of putting that information to immediate use.

"The study doesn't prove that urate is slowing down the disease, and we need clinical trials to see if progression is based on levels of urate," explained study senior author Dr. Michael A. Schwarzschild, associate professor of neurology at Harvard Medical School and director of the MassGeneral Institute for Neurodegenerative Diseases. He and his colleagues reported the finding online Oct. 12 in the Archives of Neurology.

A clinical trial assessing the impact of urate on Parkinson's is beginning, funded by the Michael J. Fox Foundation. It is recruiting 90 people with Parkinson's disease at 10 U.S. medical centers to study whether regular intake of inosine, a widely available dietary supplement that is a precursor of urate, slows Parkinson's-related deterioration of nerves. Results are expected to be available in about two years, but more definitive studies will take five years or longer, Schwarzschild said.

Meanwhile, what should people with Parkinson's disease do? "They should be very cautious," Schwarzschild said. "There may be a temptation, but one should be careful because there are clear safety concerns."

The major dangers of overdosing with urate are kidney stones and gout, but there are other possible risks, such as an increased incidence of cardiovascular disease, he said.

"There is a lot of vice associated with it, and because we don't know if the case is proven, it would be bad advice to take such measures," Schwarzschild said.

Another expert agreed. "I would not at this point
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