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Stress 'speeds development of Parkinson's disease'

Stress 'speeds development of Parkinson's disease'
11th November 2010

Leading a stressful lifestyle could trigger Parkinson's disease symptoms earlier in life, a new study claims.

Researchers from the Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine found that stress can take its toll on neurons, the cells of the brain.

Excessive stress can aggravate the neuron's mitochondria, making the cells produce more chemicals linked to aging. As these cells grow old and die, Parkinson's disease symptoms can develop.

Lead author D James Surmeier says that knowing this, they should be able to prove with drug treatment that lowering stress levels can delay the onset of Parkinson's disease.

"For individuals diagnosed with Parkinson's disease, the hope is that this drug can slow disease progression, giving symptomatic therapies a broader window in which to work," he added.

Parkinson's disease currently affects one in every 500 people in the UK, equating to around 120,000 cases across the country, according to research from Parkinson's UK.

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