How to Prevent Parkinson’s Disease: Tips, Medications, and Research – Healthline

Posted: August 30, 2021 at 1:46 am

Parkinsons disease is the second most common neurodegenerative disorder in the United States, affecting at least 500,000 people. Its a progressive disease, but can be managed with treatment. For now, the condition is diagnosed by symptoms rather than specific lab tests.

By the time a formal diagnosis is made, the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS) notes that the disease has usually progressed to a point where people have difficulty controlling bodily movements.

Thats why its important to know whether its possible to prevent this disease.

Currently, there is no therapy or treatment that can slow the progression of Parkinsons or effectively relieve advanced symptoms, according to the NINDS.

By the time classic motor symptoms of Parkinsons disease show up, a significant loss of brain cells and function have already occurred. Scientists are investigating ways to detect early signs of the disease, to potentially stop or slow the progression.

Researchers aim to learn more about biomarkers of the early stages of the disease. Finding reliable biological identifiers might help doctors diagnose and treat Parkinsons earlier. Identifying these signs would give them more time to try therapeutic treatments before the disease has progressed.

For example, research indicates that it may be useful to study the activity of a neuronal protein in the brain known as -synuclein, or alpha-synyclein.

A 2019 study noted that measurements of -synuclein have shown encouraging preliminary results with regard to potential early diagnosis. Another 2019 study also examined how -synuclein accumulates in the brains of people suspected of having Parkinsons disease.This information could be used to develop therapies, perhaps antibody therapy, to prevent that accumulation from happening.

Scientists are also working to learn more about environmental factors and genetic factors that might contribute to the risk of developing Parkinsons. One recent genetic research breakthrough is the development of a DNA chip called NeuroX, which could potentially determine a persons risk, but more research is needed.

Parkinsons disease is the result of complicated combination of interconnected events, as one 2016 study described it. Since aging is the most common risk factor, future treatments may need to take degeneration of certain neurons into account.

While its not yet known if there are surefire ways to prevent Parkinsons disease, there are a few things experts recommend.

For example, you might try incorporating physical activity into your routine and eating a healthy and balanced diet for a variety of health reasons. So far, research into nutritional supplements is lacking. However, if you have specific dietary needs, talk to your doctor to see if supplementation is appropriate.

Could CBD oil help? Its possible, but we dont know for sure yet. Some research, including a 2018 review of studies, suggest that cannabidiol (CBD) might help prevent Parkinsons disease. However, the studies are mostly animal studies and there is not yet a body of research involving humans and CBD.

Some experts suggest that you may be able to delay some of the effects of Parkinsons disease through regular physical activity. Ideally this would include a combination of exercise that includes:

The NINDS has funded a number of studies to learn more about the impact of exercise, including whether exercise might help people delay the need for medication.

There are a variety of options for treating and managing Parkinsons symptoms, most of which involve medications that address the brains low levels of dopamine. Dopamine is a chemical in your brain that affects movement, and Parkinsons causes your brain to lose neurons that produce this chemical.

Medications that address this include levodopa, or levodopa combined with carbidopa. Or your doctor might prescribe a dopamine agonist, which mimics the action of dopamine in your brain. Other drugs used to treat Parkinsons include:

Another possible treatment option is deep brain stimulation (DBS). DBS was approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration in 1997. Many people have found that this treatment, which involves sending electrical impulses into the brain via tiny electrodes, helps control tremors once treatment with levodopa is no longer effective.

A small 2018 study found that DBS seemed to slow the progression of tremors in people with Parkinsons disease. It also found that DBS could be used effectively in people with an earlier disease stage than previously thought.

Scientists hope that more treatments may become available in the future, as they learn more about which drug may or may not be effective at slowing or halting the progression of the disease.

For example, a randomized, double-blind trial of 62 patients found that people with Parkinsons who took a drug usually used to treat diabetes seemed to stop the progression of the Parkinsons symptoms. They received weekly injections of exenatide for 48 weeks.

It was a relatively small study, and longer-term trials are needed, according to the researchers. A larger study involving more patients is currently ongoing.

If you are already living with Parkinsons disease, here are some tips to manage it:

There are medications that can help treat the symptoms of Parkinsons disease, and scientists are currently conducting research that could result in new treatment and therapies.

For example, you might one day have the option to take a medication used to treat prostate gland enlargement if youre at risk for developing Parkinsons disease.

The results of a study published in early 2021 suggest that certain medications often used to treat enlarged prostates are associated with a decreased risk of developing Parkinsons disease. Specifically, the researchers compared terazosin, doxazosin, and alfuzosin, which enhance energy metabolism, to tamsulosin, which is also used to treat benign enlarged prostates. They found that the latter did not seem to have the same effect.

The findings built on their previous research, which suggested that the use of terazosin, doxazosin, and alfuzosin was associated with slower progression and fewer complications in people with Parkinsons disease.

Researchers are also looking into the potential of stem cells to create new neurons to produce dopamine. They are also researching a protein called glial cell-derived neurotrophic factor, or GDNF, to potentially slow the progression of Parkinsons.

Ongoing research into a gene called LRRK2 or LARK2 and how it may interact with other genes related to Parkinsons disease is also promising, as it may shed light on how the disease progresses and how it might be halted.

For now, the symptoms of Parkinsons disease can be managed with medication and potentially deep brain stimulation. But research is underway to look for earlier methods of detection, as well as better treatments. Eventually, we might even have a way to prevent it from developing in the first place.

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How to Prevent Parkinson's Disease: Tips, Medications, and Research - Healthline

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