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Philip Tindall says he 'tried to ignore' his Parkinson's

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Parkinson’s disease is caused by a loss of nerve cells in the part of the brain called the substantia nigra. Risk factors for the brain degenerative disease include age, head injury and exposure to certain chemicals. A new study found a surprising factor which could in fact reduce your risk.

Parkinson’s Foundation lists the potential protective factors for reducing your risk of the brain degenerative condition.

The health charity said: “Scientists have also found certain factors that may reduce the risk of developing PD [Parkinson’s disease].

“As with risk factors, not enough is known about these and they should not be tried without the counsel of a doctor.

“Some studies have suggested that the use of statins — drugs used to lower cholesterol levels — is associated with reduced PD risk.”

Other potential risk-lowering factors include:

Caffeine

Uric acid or urate

Anti-inflammatory drugs

Smoking

Vitamin D

Exercise.

A new study published in the journal Movement Disorders, looked at the relationship between statin use and the risk of developing Parkinson’s disease.

The study hypothesised that statin’s cholesterol-lowering molecules and potent anti-inflammatory effect alongside its power to reduce oxidative damage could protect against neurodegenerative diseases such as Parkinson’s disease.

 “Growing evidence has revealed that statins decrease the [alpha]-synuclein burden and dopaminergic cell death in animal and cell models of Parkinson’s disease,” researchers wrote.

However, this link remains inconsistent with some studies reporting that using statins lowers the likelihood of a person developing Parkinson’s, asprin c hildren whilst other studies report the exact opposite — that statin use increases Parkinson’s risk.

Other studies report no association at all. 

Past research has shown that people with high cholesterol tend to have a lower risk of Parkinson’s, explained Dr Xuemei Huang, a professor of neurology at Penn State College of Medicine.

He added: “Since many of those people are treated with statins, that led to speculation that the drugs, rather than high cholesterol itself, might be protective.

“But so far, studies have come to mixed conclusions.”

When it comes to factors increasing a person’s risk of developing Parkinson’s disease, Medical News Today lists:

  • Age
  • Sex
  • Genetic factors
  • Race
  • Head trauma
  • Exposure to chemicals
  • Medications and other drugs
  • Impact of smoking.

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