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Energy supplement for Parkinson's disease

Energy supplement for Parkinson's disease Dr. Kapil D. Sethi, Medical College of Georgia
Credit: Medical College of Georgia
Whether a supplement used by athletes to boost energy levels and build muscle can slow progression of Parkinsons disease is the focus of a North American study.

Creatine, under study for many neurological and neuromuscular diseases such as Lou Gehrigs and muscular dystrophy, may help Parkinsons patients by giving an energy boost to dying cells, says Dr. Kapil D. Sethi, neurologist and director of the Movement Disorders Program at the Medical College of Georgia.

We think it may help cells that are damaged or overworked, says Dr. Sethi, a site principal investigator on the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke study. MCG hopes to recruit 45 patients for the study that will enroll 1,720 patients at 51 sites in the United States and Canada.

Mitochondria, the powerhouse for cells, become dysfunctional in the brain, muscle and platelet cells of a number of patients with Parkinsons disease, Dr. Sethi says. Powerhouse dysfunction is discernible in postmortem brain studies and in muscle biopsies and measures of platelet activity in the living.

By giving more energy to the cell, you are giving them a safety margin, Dr. Sethi says. If a cell is dying, it takes another route and that would be surviving.

The goal is to slow progression of a disease that affects about 1 million people in North America. Hallmarks include tremors, rigidity and slowed movement. Late in the disease, the majority of patients also develop dementia and behavior disorders.

Todays therapies including the gold standard, a synthetic dopamine called levodopa and MAO-B inhibitors that forestall breakdown of dopamine are geared toward treating symptoms. Dopamine, a neurotransmitter critical to movement, is depleted in Parkinsons. Scientists hope newer therapies, including creatine, can be added to the mix to help slow the disease.

The creatine study will enroll patients who have been on standard therapies from 90 days to two years and follow them for five years. Half the enrollees will get creatine and half placebo. The hope is for at least a 20 percent reduction in disease progression, so that at the end of five years, patients on creatine will look like placebo patients at four years, says Buff Dill, MCG study coordinator.

Many methods will be used to periodically measure disease progression, including the Unified Parkinsons Disease Rating Scale.

Following disease progression over a number of years and measuring endpoints such as falling, nursing home placement, dementia and death is the only way to effectively assess therapy for a disease that typically progresses slowly, Dr. Sethi says. In fact, the study may be extended five more years, based on preliminary results and funding, he says.

Those who get creatine may have the added benefit of increased muscle, as is true of athletes, Dr. Sethi says, noting that a number of patients experience muscle atrophy and weight loss.

Eventhough creatine is available over the counter, he believes Parkinsons patients will still be interested in the study. Patients realize that we dont know if it works. They are willing to take the risk of being on placebo for the cause of science and to learn more about the disease, he says, noting the altruistic nature of a number of of his patients. They want to beat this disease and if they cant, they want to help somebody else beat it.

Avicena Group, Inc., will provide creatine and placebo for this first large study in a series of National Institutes of Health-sponsored exploratory trials in Parkinsons.

MCG will participate in a similar study of coenzyme Q10, another natural supplement that boosts energy production, later this year. Dr. Sethi, project director of the Parkinson Research Alliance of India, which is working to bring more clinical trials to his homeland, plans to incorporate these supplements into innovative therapy cocktails that will be studied there.


Posted by: Daniel    Source




Did you know?
Whether a supplement used by athletes to boost energy levels and build muscle can slow progression of Parkinsons disease is the focus of a North American study. Creatine, under study for many neurological and neuromuscular diseases such as Lou Gehrigs and muscular dystrophy, may help Parkinsons patients by giving an energy boost to dying cells, says Dr. Kapil D. Sethi, neurologist and director of the Movement Disorders Program at the Medical College of Georgia.

Medicineworld.org: Energy supplement for Parkinson's disease

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