Parkinson's Disease and Gout

Gout and Parkinson’s Disease

Uric Acid: Protective Effect for Parkinson’s Disease?

Parkinson’s is a disease that dates back to ancient times. The disease was named after London doctor James Parkinson in 1817 after he published “An Essay on the Shaking Palsy”, thus establishing Parkinson’s disease as a recognised medical condition. Parkinson’s disease is a progressive disorder of the nervous system that affects one’s movement. Parkinson’s develops gradually and at first is barely noticeable, starting with a tremor in just one hand. Afterwards the disease causes muscle stiffness and slowing of movement. In addition, speech may become soft and slurred. The disease causes the symptoms to worsen over time as the condition progresses. Presently, it affects up to 1 million people in the US with doctors diagnosing over 60,000 new cases every year! Just like gout the disease affects mostly men over the age of 60.

What’s interesting about Parkinson’s and how it relates to gout is a recent study published January 13, 2016 in the online issue of Neurology, the medical journal of the American Academy of Neurology, stated that men with high levels of uric acid may be less likely to develop Parkinson’s disease! Men who had the highest levels of uric acid in the blood were nearly 40% less likely to develop Parkinson’s compared to those with the lowest levels of uric acid. Kinda a similar conclusion as to when I wrote about Alzheimer’s disease and how gout sufferers are less likely to develop Alzheimer’s due to us producing more uric acid in our bodies. The sample size of the study was about 400 people in ongoing studies who had developed Parkinson’s disease and more than 1200 people who were never diagnosed with the disease.

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One of the authors of the study, Dr. Xiang Gao of Pennsylvania State University said: “These results suggest that urate could protect against Parkinson’s or slow the progression of the disease in its very early stages before symptoms are seen.” He added: “The findings support more research on whether raising the level of urate in people with early Parkinson’s may slow the disease down.”

Dr.Gao goes on to say that it does suggest the chemical could be “protective against Parkinson’s disease risk or could slow disease progression during the preclinical stage of disease.” But there is a certain caveat although this seems as an exciting idea given that uric acid levels can be raised very easily and cheaply. And that is that excessively high levels of uric acid can lead to other health problems like kidney stones and gout according to Dr.Gao.

There have been other studies in the past few years proving this same conclusion. Also, further research needs to be done to learn how high levels of uric acid are not associated with lower risk of Parkinson’s disease in women Dr.Gao added. In conclusion, it seems that us gout sufferers are at lower risk of developing Parkinson’s if you see it that as a positive while living with gout.

Posted by Spiro Koulouris

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