ALLERGY, RESPIRATORY
Air Pollution May Raise Blood Pressure
'Safe' Ozone Levels May Not Be for Some
Asthmatics Who Quit Smoking May Reverse Lung Damage
ALTERNATIVE MEDICINE
Many Cancer Patients Turn to Complementary Medicine
Bitter Melon Extract May Slow, Stop Breast Cancer
Spot light on Dani Antman New Lionheart teacher
ANIMAL CARE
Animals Respond to Acupuncture's Healing Touch
Beware of Dog Bites
Separation Anxiety, Canine-Style
BONES & JOINTS
More Faces Being Spared in Motor Vehicle Accidents
Hip Replacement Boosts Mobility at Any Age
Backpack Safety Should Be on Back-to-School Lists
CANCER
Drinking Green Tea May Slow Prostate Cancer
Quitting Smoking Doubles Survival in Early Stage Lung Cancer
Researchers ID Genetic Markers for Esophageal Cancer
CAREGIVING
Early Exercise Boosts Outcomes for ICU Patients
Study Links Pesticides to Birth Defects
U.S. Mental Health Spending Rises, But Many Still Left Out
CIRCULATORY SYSTEM
Laughter Can Boost Heart Health
A Brisk Pace May Keep Stroke at Bay
Exercise Extends Life of Kidney Patients
COSMETIC
Get Sugared!.... Its a sweet choice for hair removal
Wrinkle Fillers Need Better Label Warnings: FDA Panel
The Acne Drug Accutane More Than Doubles Depression Risk
DENTAL, ORAL
Laser Technology Spots Cavities Before They Start
Health Tip: At Risk for Gingivitis
Rheumatoid Arthritis May Harm Gums
DIABETES
24 Million Americans Had Diabetes in 2007
Out-of-Control Blood Sugar May Affect Memory
Strict Blood Sugar Lowering Won't Ease Diabetes Heart Risk
DIET, NUTRITION
'Soda Tax' Wins Health Experts' Support
Decline of Underweight Children in U.S. Continue to Fall
'Organic' May Not Mean Healthier
DISABILITIES
Could Your Cell Phone Help Shield You From Alzheimer's?
Review Finds Marijuana May Help MS Patients
ENVIRONMENTAL HEALTH
Researchers ID Genetic Markers for Esophageal Cancer
Pesticides Linked to Parkinson's
Ozone-Depleting Inhalers Being Phased Out
EYE CARE, VISION
Americans Losing Sight of Eye Health
Autistic Children Make Limited Eye Contact
Action-Filled Video Games Boost Adult Vision
FITNESS
Any Exercise Good After a Heart Attack
Good Warm-Ups Could Halve Sports Injuries
Women Who Run May Benefit From Extra Folic Acid
GASTROINTESTINAL PROBLEMS
New Yogurt May Ease Stomach Ulcers
New Guidelines Issued for Management of IBS
Intestinal Bacteria Trigger Immune Response
GENERAL HEALTH
Maximize Your Run
When It Comes to Lifting, the Pros Have Your Back
Toxins May Form When Skin, Indoor Ozone Meet
HEAD & NECK
Zen May Thicken Brain, Thwart Pain
Ski Helmets Encouraged for All
Many Children Will Outgrow Headaches
HEALTH & TECHNOLOGY
Combating Myths About Seasonal Allergies
Save Your Aging Brain, Try Surfing The Web
'Comfort Dogs' Come to Emotional Rescue
HEARING
Noise Hurts Men's Hearing More, Study Shows
Summer Sounds Can Lead to Hearing Loss
HEART & CARDIOVASCULAR
Review Confirms Links Between Diet, Heart Health
B-Vitamins Help Protect Against Stroke, Heart Disease
Obese People Seem to Do Better With Heart Disease
INFECTIOUS DISEASE
Swine Flu Is Now a Pandemic Says W.H.O.
Swine Flu Closes Three Schools in NYC
Hand Washing 10 Times a Day May Help Keep Flu Away
INFERTILITY
Obesity May Affect Fertility in Young Womene
KID'S HEALTH
Breast-Feeding May Protect a Woman's Heart
Dangerous Toys Still on Store Shelves, Report Finds
Don't Leave Your Kids In The Car !
MEN'S HEALTH
Eating Fast Until Full Triples Overweight Risk
Could Chinese Herb Be a Natural Viagra?
The Dark Side of Vegetarianism
MENTAL HEALTH
Reminiscing Helps Build Emotional Strength
Psychotherapy Can Boost Happiness More Than Money
Man's Best Friend Helps Mend Broken Hearts
PAIN
Alleviating Rheumatoid Arthritis
Acupuncture, Real or Fake, Eases Back Pain
Tai Chi May Help Ease Fibromyalgia
PHYSICAL THERAPY
PREGNANCY
Breast-Feeding May Protect a Woman's Heart
Music of Mozart Soothes the Preemie Baby
Pregnant Women Exposed To Certain Pollutants Could Lower Childs IQ
SENIORS
A Little Alcohol May Stave Off Alzheimer's
Mediterranean Diet Plus Exercise Lowers Alzheimer's Risk
Keeping Mentally Active Seems To Keep The Brain Active
SEXUAL HEALTH
SLEEP DISORDERS
Meditation May Help Put Primary Insomnia to Bed
Daylight Savings: Not a Bright Time for All
Moderate Aerobics May Ease Insomnia Symptoms
WOMEN'S HEALTH
Woman in America Are Delaying Motherhood, Study Says
Calcium Helps Ward Off Colon Cancer
Supplements Might Reduce Breast Cancer Risk
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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