A new study has found that Parkinson's patients, who have higher levels of urate, have slow progression of the neuro-degenerative disease. Urate is a chemical that is found at very high level in patients with gout.
Although it is not known if the high levels actually somehow protect patients or simply serve as a marker of protection, the finding by researchers supports the idea that patients and doctors may one day be able to better predict the course of the illness.
Scientists at Massachusetts General Hospital and the Harvard School of Public Health and including physicians at the University of Rochester Medical Center, led the study, which was based on a landmark study known as DATATOP, which was conducted two decades ago.
Primarily the findings have come from analysing biological samples, mainly blood and cerebrospinal fluid, collected from people with Parkinson disease who participated the DATATOP study.
Conceived and led by Rochester neurologist Ira Shoulson, DATATOP study is best known for shifting the landscape of neurology clinical research, as it analysed 800 people with Parkinson disease, looking at whether the drug deprenyl (selegiline), vitamin E, or a combination might slow the progression of the disease.
While vitamin E failed, the study found that deprenyl provided patients with some relief.
However, the large-scale study provided a mountain of information collected on the 800 participants over eight years, which acted as one of the great repositories of data about Parkinson disease ever assembled- thousands of blood, urine, and cerebrospinal fluid samples, as well as notes from more than 16,000 physical examinations of patients by doctors and nurses.
Based on the DATATOP study, the new study by Dr. Michael A. Schwarzschild and Dr. Alberto Ascherio was, was aimed at looking for a possible role for urate in protecting patients against the effects of Parkinson disease
And the researchers found that the disease progressed more slowly in participants with the highest levels of urate than in people with the lowest levels.
The study was published in the Archives of Neurology.