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Drinking coffee may protect some people against Parkinson’s

A recent study found lower levels of caffeine in the blood of people with Parkinson’s disease. The study compared people with Parkinson’s who carry a particular genetic mutation known to increase Parkinson’s risk with people who carry the same mutation but do not have the disease.

Parkinson’s disease is a progressive brain disorder characterized by tremors, rigidity in the limbs and torso, and movement and balance problems. People with the condition also have an increased risk of depression and dementia.

According to the U.S. National Library of Medicine, more than 1 million people in North America and more than 4 million people worldwide have Parkinson’s disease. In the United States, about 60,000 people receive a diagnosis each year.

Around 15% of people with the disease have a family history of Parkinson’s, which suggests they inherited genes that increased their risk of developing the condition. However, most cases result from a complex, poorly understood interaction of genetic and environmental factors.

Several environmental factors, such as head trauma, chemicals, and drugs, have associations with increased risk, whereas exercise has associations with reduced risk.

A 2010 review of previous research found that the more caffeine people regularly consumed, the lower their risk of developing Parkinson’s.

Another study showed that people with Parkinson’s who have no genetic risk factors for the disease have lower caffeine levels in their blood than people without the disease.

A team led by researchers at Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston, MA, set out to discover whether coffee might also protect people with a mutation in the LRRK2 gene. Having this gene increases the risk of developing the disease but does not guarantee it.

The researchers compared people with and without Parkinson’s disease. Both groups contained people with and without a mutation in the LRRK2 gene.

The researchers found that the differences in the blood caffeine levels between people with Parkinson’s and those without were greater among individuals with this genetic mutation.

Dr. Grace Crotty, who led the research, says:

“These results are promising and encourage future research exploring caffeine and caffeine-related therapies to lessen the chance that people with this gene develop Parkinson’s … It’s also possible that caffeine levels in the blood could be used as a biomarker to help identify which people with this gene will develop the disease, assuming caffeine levels remain relatively stable.”

The authors published the study in the journal Neurology.

The scientists analyzed blood plasma samples from 368 individuals enrolled in the LRRK2 Cohort Consortium, a research project established in 2009 coordinated and funded by the Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson’s Research.

One group contained 188 individuals with Parkinson’s, and the control group included 180 people without the disease. Around the same proportion of each group had a mutation in the LRRK2 gene.

When the researchers compared the chemical profile of plasma from the two groups, they found the levels of five particular chemicals differed the most — all of them caffeine-related.

Concentrations of all five chemicals were significantly lower among

4 Women With Parkinson’s Share What They Wish They Knew When They Were First Diagnosed

Photo credit: Hearst Owned
Photo credit: Hearst Owned

From Good Housekeeping

While Parkinson’s disease affects men twice more often than women—Michael J. Foxx has been one of the most famous to be afflicted by it—data shows that women experience a faster progression of the disease and a higher mortality rate.

With symptoms like tremors, rigid muscles, slowed movements, and speech changes, a Parkinson’s diagnosis can wreak havoc on the body. These four women, who have been living with Parkinson’s for up to two decades, open up about what they wish they knew when they were first diagnosed, including how important it is to have a rock solid support network.

“You can live a great life with Parkinson’s, but you have to accept help along the way.”

Photo credit: Hearst Owned
Photo credit: Hearst Owned

After Kelly Weinschreider, 47, of Chicago, Illinois, was diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease at just 29 years old, she was prescribed several medications that lessened her symptoms. Since she felt fine, it made it easier for her to ignore what was going on, especially since she didn’t tell many people about it. “I didn’t want people to feel sorry for me, or for my diagnosis to change my relationships, personally or professionally, ” she said.

That denial—plus side effects from the medicine and the disease’s progression—forced her to leave her job as a quality manager 10 years later. “I should have been seeing a behavioral health specialist to understand how Parkinson’s affected me and how to accept it,” she says. “Instead, I took my medications sporadically. I mismanaged time and commitments, and I had trouble performing my job and, ultimately, spun out. I wish I would have been more forthcoming with family and friends as to how the disease was affecting me.”

After living with the condition for 18 years, Weinschreider came to terms with her diagnosis. She also realized it truly takes a village to live life with Parkinson’s to its fullest and started to communicate with friends and family when she needed help. “You need the support of family and friends, the care of multiple specialists, and the foresight to plan for the future. You can live a great life with Parkinson’s, but you have to accept help along the way,” Weinschreider says.

“I wish I hadn’t dismissed early symptoms.”

Photo credit: Hearst Owned
Photo credit: Hearst Owned

Denise Coley, 68, of Morgan Hill, California was diagnosed with Parkinson’s two years ago, after months of having trouble balancing and experiencing insomnia and mood changes—all things she thought were unrelated to each other, not signs of a slow degenerative disease. “It wasn’t until the motor symptoms appeared, like the tremors, that I realized what was going on was a bigger issue than I originally thought,” Coley says.

In hindsight, Coley wishes she had responded differently, and run to the doctor first thing. “If I had realized sooner,” she says, “I would have spent more quality time with family. I would have looked into what changes in my life and home were needed earlier in order

Coffee may reduce risk for Parkinson’s disease, study says

Caffeine may reduce the risk of Parkinson’s disease in people who have a gene mutation associated with the movement disorder, researchers report.

“These results are promising and encourage future research exploring caffeine and caffeine-related therapies to lessen the chance that people with this gene develop Parkinson’s,” said study author Dr. Grace Crotty, of Massachusetts General Hospital.

“It’s also possible that caffeine levels in the blood could be used as a biomarker to help identify which people with this gene will develop the disease, assuming caffeine levels remain relatively stable,” Crotty added in a news release from the journal Neurology.

The study was published online in the journal.

Previous studies have shown that caffeine may protect against Parkinson’s in people with no genetic risk factors. This new study focused on a mutation in the LRRK2 gene that increases the risk of Parkinson’s.

Not all people with this gene mutation develop Parkinson’s disease, so scientists are trying to pinpoint other contributing genetic or environmental factors.

Could coffee — or its lack — be one of them?

This study compared 188 people with Parkinson’s disease to 180 people without the disease. Both groups had people with and without the LRRK2 gene mutation.

Among people with the gene mutation, those with Parkinson’s had a 76% lower concentration of caffeine in their blood than those without Parkinson’s. Among people without the mutation, those who had Parkinson’s had a 31% lower concentration of caffeine in their blood than those without Parkinson’s.

People with Parkinson’s who had the gene mutation consumed 41% less caffeine a day than the people with and without the gene mutation who didn’t have Parkinson’s.

The study assessed people at one point in time, so it doesn’t help researchers understand any long-term effect caffeine may have on Parkinson’s risk or how it may affect the disease’s progression, Crotty noted.

Also, the study doesn’t prove that caffeine consumption directly reduces the risk of Parkinson’s it only shows an association.

More information

The Parkinson’s Foundation has more on Parkinson’s disease.

Copyright 2020 HealthDay. All rights reserved.

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BIAL Goes Global With New US Research Center and Acquisition of Promising Parkinson’s Disease Programs

  • BIAL Biotech to be based in Cambridge, Massachusetts and will be a Research Center of Excellence dedicated to genetically-defined Parkinson’s disease

  • LTI-291 clinical program and other research programs in Parkinson’s disease acquired from Lysosomal Therapeutics, Inc.

  • R&D team led by Peter Lansbury, professor of neurology at Harvard Medical School

  • Investment may add up to 130 million dollars depending on the accomplishment of downstream development, and several regulatory and commercial milestones

BIAL, a pharmaceutical company based in Portugal with locations across Europe and dedicated to R&D in CNS diseases, announced today that it has established a new affiliate in the United States of America, BIAL Biotech Investments Inc. (BIAL Biotech). This new research center focused on genetically-defined Parkinson’s disease is based in Cambridge, Massachusetts, a prominent biotech hub in the world.

This press release features multimedia. View the full release here: https://www.businesswire.com/news/home/20201001005323/en/

Simultaneously, BIAL announced that it has acquired worldwide rights of LTI-291 and all the Parkinson’s disease research programs of Lysosomal Therapeutics Inc. (LTI) and taken on the entire R&D team.

António Portela, executive president of BIAL, reveals: “Our entry into the US with the creation of BIAL Biotech and the acquisition of the promising programs from LTI, is a decisive step towards the fulfilment of our mission to contribute to improving the quality of life of people worldwide. The development of this new research center in the US, is a landmark of enormous relevance for us. We are investing in science and research, through our direct presence in one of the most important research hubs in the world and in one of the most promising areas of medicine.

This acquisition not only provides the company with a pipeline of new product candidates in Parkinson’s disease but also an experienced R&D team, led by Peter Lansbury, professor of neurology at Harvard Medical School and a recognized thought leader in the field of neurodegenerative diseases.

With this acquisition, BIAL is expanding its pipeline, namely with the integration of new compounds in neurodegeneration already in clinical development, specifically for Parkinson’s disease, where the pharmaceutical company already has a significant market position.

The executive president of BIAL also points out: “The compounds we’ve acquired are based on genetics, a new field of research for us. The lead asset, which now has the code name ‘BIA 28-6156/LTI-291’, has an innovative mechanism of action and presents the potential of being a first disease-modifying therapy for a genetic subset of Parkinson’s disease. It has successfully completed a Phase I trial program and should be ready to start Phase II studies in 2021. We´re progressing from symptomatic treatment to an intervention in the mechanisms of the disease, which is very exciting for BIAL.

“We are happy to be part of BIAL and take the lead on the growth story in the US,” says Kees Been, former CEO of LTI and now CEO of BIAL Biotech. “With the commitment and resources of BIAL we will be able to accelerate our novel