ALLERGY, RESPIRATORY
Childhood Food Allergies on the Rise
Overweight Moms More Likely to Have Asthmatic Kids
Herbal Remedy Could Halt Peanut Allergy
ALTERNATIVE MEDICINE
Should Your Child Be Seeing a Chiropractor?
Bitter Melon Extract May Slow, Stop Breast Cancer
Wristbands May Lessen Nausea After Radiation
ANIMAL CARE
Beware of Dog Bites
Rest Easy. When It Comes to Swine Flu, Your Pet Is Safe
Safe Toys for Dogs
BONES & JOINTS
Get in Step With Summer Foot Care
Rheumatoid Arthritis a Threat to the Heart
Vitamin D Plus Calcium Guards Against Fractures
CANCER
Exercise Cuts Lung Cancer Risk in Ex-Smokers by 45%
Breast Self-Exam Rates Go Up With Counseling
Many Cancer Patients Turn to Complementary Medicine
CAREGIVING
Transition From Home to Hospital Rarely Seamless
Babies Born in High Pollen Months at Wheezing Risk
Child's Food Allergies Take Toll on Family Plans
CIRCULATORY SYSTEM
A Brisk Pace May Keep Stroke at Bay
Exercise May Blunt Salt's Effect on Hypertension
Salt Boosts Blood Pressure in High-Risk Patients
COSMETIC
Contact Lenses Boost Kids' Self-Image
Gum Chewing May Cut Craving for Snacks
Wrinkle Fillers Need Better Label Warnings: FDA Panel
DENTAL, ORAL
Toothbrushing May Stave Off Heart Woes
Gum Disease Treatment Doesn't Cut Preterm Birth Risk
Most Insured Adults Worry About Health Care Costs: Poll
DIABETES
Treatment for Type 2 Diabetes Updated
Arthritis Hits More Than Half of Diabetics
Boosting Vitamin D Can Do a Heart Good
DIET, NUTRITION
For Fitness, Cutting Calories May Not Be Enough
Purple Tomato Extended Lives of Cancer-Prone Mice
Low Vitamin D Levels May Initiate Cancer Development
DISABILITIES
Could Your Cell Phone Help Shield You From Alzheimer's?
Review Finds Marijuana May Help MS Patients
ENVIRONMENTAL HEALTH
EPA Alerts Seniors to Carbon Monoxide Dangers
Most Mt. Everest Deaths Occur Near Summit During Descent
Pregnant Rural Women More at Risk
EYE CARE, VISION
Clues Found to Brain Mechanism Behind Migraines
Unconscious Learning: In the Eye of the Beholder?
Glaucoma Treatment Can Prevent Blindness
FITNESS
Antioxidants Blunt Exercise Benefit, Study Shows
Exercise Helps Reduce Falls in Young and Old
Want to Stop Cancer? You Can, Experts Say
GASTROINTESTINAL PROBLEMS
Soothing Imagery May Help Rid Some Kids of Stomach Pain
New Yogurt May Ease Stomach Ulcers
Japanese Herbals May Ease Gastro Woes
GENERAL HEALTH
Whole Grains, Bran May Fight Hypertension in Men
More Single Women Are Having Babies
Surgical Masks Could Prevent Flu, Maybe
HEAD & NECK
Zen May Thicken Brain, Thwart Pain
Many Children Will Outgrow Headaches
Ski Helmets Encouraged for All
HEALTH & TECHNOLOGY
Save Your Aging Brain, Try Surfing The Web
'Cell Phone Elbow' -- A New Ill for the Wired Age
Combating Myths About Seasonal Allergies
HEARING
Noise Hurts Men's Hearing More, Study Shows
Summer Sounds Can Lead to Hearing Loss
HEART & CARDIOVASCULAR
Heart Disease May Be Prevented By Taking Fish Oils, Study Shows
Whole Grains Lower Risk of Heart Failure
Fructose Boosts Blood Pressure, Studies Find
INFECTIOUS DISEASE
The HPV Vaccine: Preventative Medicine or Human Sacrifice?
More Medicinal Uses for Pomegranate
Swine Flu Closes Three Schools in NYC
INFERTILITY
Obesity May Affect Fertility in Young Womene
KID'S HEALTH
Soothing Imagery May Help Rid Some Kids of Stomach Pain
Help Your Kids Stay Active
Pregnant Women Exposed To Certain Pollutants Could Lower Childs IQ
MEN'S HEALTH
Drinking Green Tea May Slow Prostate Cancer
Could Chinese Herb Be a Natural Viagra?
Sunlight May Help Protect Men From Kidney Cancer
MENTAL HEALTH
Eight Spiritual Universal Principles in the Art of Practice
Heal Your LifeŽ Tips for Living Well
Mind Exercise Might Help Stroke Patients
PAIN
'Cell Phone Elbow' -- A New Ill for the Wired Age
Acupuncture, Real or Fake, Eases Back Pain
Are We Exercising Pain Away? Not So Much.
PHYSICAL THERAPY
PREGNANCY
Sleeping Could Help Women Lose The Baby Fat
Acupuncture May Ease Depression During Pregnancy
Breast-Feeding Benefits Moms and Babies
SENIORS
Video Gaming Just Might Fight Aging
Save Your Aging Brain, Try Surfing The Web
Tai Chi May Help Ease Fibromyalgia
SEXUAL HEALTH
SLEEP DISORDERS
Pay Attention to Signs That Say You're Too Fatigued to Drive
Meditation May Help Put Primary Insomnia to Bed
Moderate Aerobics May Ease Insomnia Symptoms
WOMEN'S HEALTH
Soy May Not Lead to Denser Breasts
Lifting Weights Can Ease Arm Swelling in Breast Cancer Survivors
Vitamin D Good for Breast Cancer Patients
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Common Antioxidant Might Slow Parkinson's

(HealthDay News) -- A new look at some old data adds convincing evidence that high body fluid levels of the antioxidant urate slow the progressive nerve damage of Parkinson's disease.

However, the researchers also warned of the potential danger of putting that information to immediate use.

"The study doesn't prove that urate is slowing down the disease, and we need clinical trials to see if progression is based on levels of urate," explained study senior author Dr. Michael A. Schwarzschild, associate professor of neurology at Harvard Medical School and director of the MassGeneral Institute for Neurodegenerative Diseases. He and his colleagues reported the finding online Oct. 12 in the Archives of Neurology.

A clinical trial assessing the impact of urate on Parkinson's is beginning, funded by the Michael J. Fox Foundation. It is recruiting 90 people with Parkinson's disease at 10 U.S. medical centers to study whether regular intake of inosine, a widely available dietary supplement that is a precursor of urate, slows Parkinson's-related deterioration of nerves. Results are expected to be available in about two years, but more definitive studies will take five years or longer, Schwarzschild said.

Meanwhile, what should people with Parkinson's disease do? "They should be very cautious," Schwarzschild said. "There may be a temptation, but one should be careful because there are clear safety concerns."

The major dangers of overdosing with urate are kidney stones and gout, but there are other possible risks, such as an increased incidence of cardiovascular disease, he said.

"There is a lot of vice associated with it, and because we don't know if the case is proven, it would be bad advice to take such measures," Schwarzschild said.

Another expert agreed. "I would not at this point recommend to any Parkinson's patients that they take inosine as a supplement," said Dr. Ira Shoulson, professor of neurology at the University of Rochester in New York and a member of the research team. "I would not for several reasons, mostly to do with safety but also about whether it is beneficial. These are things we have to sort out in future years."

As for natural sources of urate, they are mostly things that people are told to avoid for other reasons, Schwarzschild said -- fructose, the sugar often blamed for an epidemic of obesity; alcohol; and even smoking. "There is a lot of it in liver, but who wants to eat that much liver?" Shoulson added.

Parkinson's disease is a degenerative neurological illness in which deterioration of brain cells causes steadily worsening symptoms such as trembling and slowed motion. Indications that urate might affect the course of Parkinson's began to emerge from epidemiological studies decades ago, Schwarzschild said. More solid evidence came from a study reported last year, which led the researchers of the new study to look back at a two-decades-old study of 800 people with Parkinson's disease.

"They had donated spinal fluid as well as blood, so we were able to test for urate levels in spinal fluid, which surrounds the brain cells," Schwarzschild said.

Analysis showed that the one-fifth of participants with the highest urate levels had a 36 percent lower risk of disease progression compared to the one-fifth with the lowest levels.

"Urate is actually one of the major antioxidants that circulates in humans," Schwarzschild said. "Brain cell degeneration in Parkinson's, Alzheimer's disease or ALS [amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, Lou Gehrig's disease], is caused by oxidative damage."

But another expert agreed it's too early for dietary or treatment recommendations.

"This finding is very exciting, but not yet ready for applicability to individual patients," said Dr. Melissa Nirenberg, assistant professor of neurology and neuroscience at Weil Cornell Medical College in New York City, who was not involved in the study.

She said that the previous report had not generated many queries about urate from her patients. "This one may generate more buzz, but it is very, very concerning that uric acid is a risk factor for cardiovascular disease and other diseases," she said.

If she were asked about inosine, "I would never recommend it to a patient at this stage because we don't know whether it is cause-and-effect rather than just a relationship and whether the potential benefits outweigh the risks," Nirenberg said.

SOURCES: Michael A. Schwarzschild, M.D., Ph.D, associate professor, neurology, Harvard Medical School, director, MassGeneral Institute for Neurodegenerative Diseases, Boston; Ira Shoulson, M.D., professor, neurology, University of Rochester, N.Y.; Melissa Nirenberg, M.D., Ph.D., assistant professor, neurology and neuroscience, Weil Cornell Medical College in New York City; online Oct. 12, 2009, and December 2009 print edition of Archives of Neurology Published on: October 13, 2009