ALLERGY, RESPIRATORY
Herbal Remedy Could Halt Peanut Allergy
Traffic, Dust Linked to Asthma in Kids
New Spray Could Benefit Cystic Fibrosis Patients
ALTERNATIVE MEDICINE
Pharoah's Wine Jar Yields Medicinal Secrets
Garlic Yields Up Its Health Secret
Should Your Child Be Seeing a Chiropractor?
ANIMAL CARE
Beware of Dog Bites
Safe Toys for Dogs
Separation Anxiety, Canine-Style
BONES & JOINTS
A Little Drink May Be Good for Your Bones
Barefoot Lifestyle Has Its Dangers
Drinking Cuts Rheumatoid Arthritis Risk
CANCER
Smokeout '08: The Perfect Time to Quit
Breast Self-Exam Rates Go Up With Counseling
Mineral May Reduce High-Risk Bladder Disease
CAREGIVING
Depression, PTSD Common Among Lung Transplant Patient Caregivers
Recession Scrambling Health Spending in U.S.
Omega-3 Fatty Acid May Help 'Preemie' Girls' Brains
CIRCULATORY SYSTEM
Drink a Little Wine, Live a Little Longer
Obesity Linked to Heart Failure Risk
Firefighters Have Narrower-Than-Normal Arteries, Study Finds
COSMETIC
What to Do If You Have Unsightly Veins
Mouse Study Finds Molecule That Tells Hair to Grow
Get Sugared!.... Its a sweet choice for hair removal
DENTAL, ORAL
Gummy Bears Join Cavity Fight
Good Oral Hygiene May Protect Against Heart Infections
Periodontal Disease Impacts Whole Health
DIABETES
Fructose-Sweetened Drinks Up Metabolic Syndrome Risk
Patients' Photos Help Boost Radiologists' Accuracy
Out-of-Control Blood Sugar May Affect Memory
DIET, NUTRITION
Trans-Fat Ban In New York City Is Proving successful
Potassium-Rich Foods May Cut Stroke, Heart Disease Risk
Common Antioxidant Might Slow Parkinson's
DISABILITIES
Could Your Cell Phone Help Shield You From Alzheimer's?
Review Finds Marijuana May Help MS Patients
ENVIRONMENTAL HEALTH
Disinfectants Can Boost Bacteria's Resistance to Treatment
Vitamin D Deficit May Trigger MS Risk Gene
Smog Standards Need Tightening, Activists Say
EYE CARE, VISION
Just Like Skin, Eyes Can 'Burn' in Strong Sun
Kids Who Spend More Time Outdoors Have Better Vision
Music Can Help Restore Stroke Patients' Sight
FITNESS
Exercise 30 Minutes a Day? Who Knew!
FDA Mandates New Warnings for Botox
MRSA Infections Can Bug Fitness Buffs
GASTROINTESTINAL PROBLEMS
New Guidelines Issued for Management of IBS
Peppermint Oil, Fiber Can Fight Irritable Bowel
Gum Chewing May Speed Colon Surgery Recovery
GENERAL HEALTH
Want to Stop Cancer? You Can, Experts Say
When It Comes to Lifting, the Pros Have Your Back
Any Old Cane Won't Do
HEAD & NECK
Ski Helmets Encouraged for All
Many Children Will Outgrow Headaches
Zen May Thicken Brain, Thwart Pain
HEALTH & TECHNOLOGY
Using Light Therapy to Silence Harmful Brain Activity
Imaging Sheds Light on How Acupuncture Works
Subway Defibrillators Save Lives
HEARING
Summer Sounds Can Lead to Hearing Loss
Noise Hurts Men's Hearing More, Study Shows
HEART & CARDIOVASCULAR
Most Fast-Food French Fries Cooked in Unhealthiest Oil
Small Cuts in Salt Intake Spur Big Drops in Heart Trouble
Obese People Seem to Do Better With Heart Disease
INFECTIOUS DISEASE
Chinese 'Devil Dung' Plant Could Be a Swine Flu Fighter
Swine Flu Now Reported in All 50 States
Viral Infection Might Trigger High Blood Pressure
INFERTILITY
Obesity May Affect Fertility in Young Womene
KID'S HEALTH
Teen Stress May Have Roots in First Three Years of Life
Exercise in Adolescence May Cut Risk of Deadly Brain Tumor
Scary Toxins Make Halloween Face Paints Questionable
MEN'S HEALTH
Lots of Sex May Prevent Erectile Dysfunction
Vigorous Exercise Cuts Stroke Risk for Men, Not Women
More Vitamin C May Mean Less Chance of Gout
MENTAL HEALTH
Reminiscing Helps Build Emotional Strength
Vitamin C Protects Some Elderly Men From Bone Loss
Man's Best Friend Helps Mend Broken Hearts
PAIN
'Cell Phone Elbow' -- A New Ill for the Wired Age
Alleviating Rheumatoid Arthritis
Are We Exercising Pain Away? Not So Much.
PHYSICAL THERAPY
PREGNANCY
Sugary Colas Tied to Gestational Diabetes
Obesity May Affect Fertility in Young Womene
Yoga's Benefits Outweigh Risks for Pregnant Women
SENIORS
Protein Deposits May Show Up Before Memory Problems Occur, Study Says
Video Gaming Just Might Fight Aging
For a Healthier Retirement, Work a Little
SEXUAL HEALTH
SLEEP DISORDERS
Meditation May Help Put Primary Insomnia to Bed
Pay Attention to Signs That Say You're Too Fatigued to Drive
Exercising Throat Muscles May Relieve Sleep Apnea
WOMEN'S HEALTH
Natural Therapies for Menopause
Caffeine in Pregnancy Associated With Low Birth Weight Risk
Spice Compounds May Stem Tumor Growth
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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