In June 21, 2018, we posted a blog article about research that showed that a type of Vitamin B3 called nicotinamide riboside (NR) could possibly help prevent motor decline in Parkinson’s disease (PD). The studies were carried out on fish and Drosophila fly models and the researchers wrote that further research was necessary to determine if these conclusions would also apply to humans. However, Parkinson’s News Today referred to an animal study published September 30, 2018 in the Journal of Neurochemisty (JNC) that found that instead of being neuroprotective, nicotinamide riboside actually worsened Parkinson’s disease in rats. The researchers had assumed that based on the previous fly and fish model studies, that the rats they used in the study would also respond favorably to the nicotinamide riboside, but to their surprise it actually worsened Parkinson’s. The rats had received the NR for 28 days after having received an injection to induce Parkinson’s characteristics in the rats. In spite of the fact that they did see evidence of what should have been improvements in the brains of the rats when they examined them post-mortem, nonetheless, instead of being neuroprotective these turned out to be neurodegenerative and motor function in the rats actually worsened.
Lifestyle and Environmental Factors
Lifestyle and environmental factors may prevent or increase the risk for Parkinson’s disease. For instance all the latest studies show that drinking alcoholic beverages can lead to all kinds of neurodegenerative diseases and dementia and cancers. Vietnam veterans that were exposed to Agent Orange have a very high rate of Parkinson’s disease. Agent Orange is a powerful herbicide and this has also led some scientists to believe that even milder herbicides can lead to Parkinson’s disease and some kinds of cancers.
Parkinson’s disease is the second most common neurodegenerative disease after Alzheimer’s disease. It is characterized by a buildup in the brain of clusters of a protein called alpha-synoclein. This kills brain cells and the brain stops producing dopamine, which is a necessary chemical needed for all kinds of important brain functions. It is a progressive disease and so far no cure has been found or a way to stop its progressive decline. It is a disease characterized by:
- Walking and balance problems with a peculiar kind of shuffling walk called the Parkinsonian gait
- Rigidity of muscles
- A very high rate of unintentional falls
- Tremor usually on one side of the body
- Speech, swallowing and chewing problems
- Urinary problems
- Sleep disorders
- In some advanced cases there is also dementia.
Treatment is mainly aimed at controlling the symptoms. Drugs are given to replace dopamine.
The Need for Long-term Care
Since Parkinson’s disease is progressive and becomes worse with time, eventually someone afflicted with it may need long-term skilled nursing care. The Royal Suites Healthcare and Rehabilitation in beautiful Galloway Township, New Jersey, is skilled long-term nursing care at its best. Your loved one will be in the best of hands.
While this is a disappointment to those researchers struggling to find a cure or way of preventing or slowing down the progression in Parkinson’s disease, it is to be hoped that the real cause of Parkinson’s disease will be discovered. There are genetic risks for Parkinson’s, but not all people who carry these genes develop Parkinson’s, although the risk increases with age.