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Experimental Parkinson's treatment 'could cause weight loss'

Experimental Parkinson's treatment 'could cause weight loss'
26th March 2009

An experimental treatment which is currently being used to aid patients with Parkinson's disease has been linked to unwanted weight loss if used on specific areas of the brain, it has been revealed.

In research carried out by researchers at the University of Florida, it was understood that GDNF - or glial cell line-derived neurotrophic factor - could potentially control obesity as well as the side-effects of Parkinson's disease.

Ron Mandel, a professor of neuroscience at the university, said: "People shouldn't interpret our result to mean this is a terrible side-effect that precludes ability to do GDNF gene therapy for Parkinson's disease, but it does show that it is extremely important to place the therapy in the correct brain region."

Dr Pedro Lowenstein, the director of the Gene Therapeutics Research Institute, said the announcement is a "fascinating" discovery and could be a future potential treatment for weight loss while also highlighting the importance of watching a Parkinson's patient's weight and metabolism carefully.

Earlier this month, scientists at the University of Stanford revealed the diseased circuitry behind Parkinson's, highlighting the role of axons in the degeneration of brain functions.

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