Glitazones used for diabetes could potentially reduce the development of Parkinson's disease, according to a new study by the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine.
The research, which has been published in PLOS Medicine, found that both pioglitazone or rosiglitazone lowered the occurrence of Parkinson's by about 28 per cent, compared to individuals who didn't take the drugs. Data from over 160,000 diabetics in the UK between 1999 and 2013 was examined, matching 44,597 glitazone drug users with 120,373 users of other diabetic treatments. When researchers considered other risk factors, such as head injuries and smoking, the 28-percent figure didn't change.
Speaking to Reuters, senior researcher Ian Douglas said: "We often hear about negative side effects associated with medications, but sometimes there can also be unintended beneficial effects."
These findings correlate with other research that suggested that glitazone drugs could have neuroprotective properties in animals. The drugs are able to target the eroxisome proliferation-activated gamma (PPARγ) receptor.
Researchers have been quick to suggest, however, that patients of the condition should not turn to the drugs immediately, especially as they have been linked with serious side effects, such as bladder cancer and heart problems.
There are currently no effective treatments for Parkinson's, but this new research is a big step towards one day potentially finding a cure.
Parkinson's affects dopamine-producing nerve cells that are important for transmitting signals, in turn, halting muscle movement around the body.
This follows news that researchers in Plymouth have launched a new study to see if detection of Parkinson's disease could be improved. The study will adopt new technology developed by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Oxford University, which will see participants complete everyday tasks with various body sensors attached to them.
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