Top 10 Parkinson’s Stories of 2018

Top 10 Parkinson’s Stories of 2018

Parkinson’s News Today provided you with daily coverage of important findings, treatment developments, and clinical trials related to Parkinson’s during 2018.

We look forward to bringing more news to Parkinson’s patients, as well as their family members and caregivers, during 2019.

The Parkinson’s Disease News Today forums are a place to connect with other patients, share tips and talk about the latest research. Join today!

Here are the Top 10 most-read articles of 2018, with a brief description of what made them interesting to the Parkinson’s community.

 No. 10 – “Phase 2 Trial Shows Nilotinib Potential to Modulate Dopamine in Parkinson’s

Results of a Phase 2 trial (NCT02954978) of Novartis’ nilotinib in 75 patients with mid-stage Parkinson’s and mild cognitive impairment suggested the therapy increased production and metabolism of dopamine within one to four hours after a single treatment. Also, low-dose nilotinib (150 mg and 200 mg) — marketed as Tasigna for certain types of leukemia — was associated with lower levels of an altered and toxic form of alpha-synuclein, the main component of Parkinson’s hallmark protein clumps known as Lewy bodies.

No. 9 – “Potential Parkinson’s Vaccine, Affitope PD01A, Safe and Possibly Effective in Long-term, Phase 1 Trial Series Finds

The long-term safety, tolerability, and immune response associated with an experimental vaccine called Affitope PD01A were studied in a series of four consecutive Phase 1 trials: AFF008 (NCT01568099), AFF008E (NCT01885494), AFF008A (NCT02216188), and AFF008AA (NCT02618941). Twenty-one treated and five control patients completed the series. The results showed that both 15 μg or 75 μg doses of Affitope were well-tolerated, only causing mild injection-site reactions. The vaccine, being developed by Affiris, induced a clear immune response against its target — alpha-synuclein — that was stabilized with “boost” injections. At week 26 of treatment, it induced a trend toward lower levels of a toxic form of alpha-synuclein in the blood and cerebrospinal fluid, the liquid surrounding the brain and the spinal cord.

No.8 – “MRI-Focused Ultrasound Undergoing Phase 3 Clinical Trial for Parkinson’s Treatment

A Phase 3 trial (NCT03319485) of a potential nonsurgical treatment, known as magnetic resonance imaging (MRI)-guided focused ultrasound, also attracted significant interest. The InSightec-sponsored study — still recruiting patients with advanced disease — is exploring the procedure’s safety and effectiveness. It follows a pilot trial demonstrating lesser upper-limb tremors in patients with tremor-dominant Parkinson’s who did not respond to other therapies. In this non-invasive approach, ultrasound waves destroy damaged tissue in a brain structure called the globus pallidus, which is involved in the regulation of voluntary movement. The team expects to enroll 80 to 100 participants.

No. 7 – “Key to Effective Parkinson’s Treatment May Lie in Stem Cells, Researchers Say

Advancements in stem cell therapy for Parkinson’s were also of clear interest to our readers. Two articles assessed the replacement of dopamine-producing neurons, progressively lost during the course of disease. The first focused on patient-derived induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSCs), fully matured cells that researchers are able to reprogram in vitro (in the laboratory) to revert them to a stem cell state in which they are able to grow into any type of cell, including dopaminergic nerve cells. The second study focused on an alternative approach to stem cell therapy that, instead of iPSCs, uses parthenogenetic-derived neural stem cells. These cells are obtained by chemical manipulations in unfertilized human oocytes, or immature egg cells, which are also able to grow into neurons. A Phase 1 trial (NCT02452723) of this approach is underway in patients with moderate to severe disease at a single site in Australia.

No. 6  “Psychosis in Parkinson’s Linked to Volume Changes in Specific Area of Brain, Study Says

Atrophy, or shrinkage, of the hippocampus — a critical brain area involved in memory — correlates with psychosis in patients with Parkinson’s disease. Specifically, researchers found that the volume of distinct subzones of the hippocampus was associated with psychosis severity and impaired cognitive functions. Greater volume was also seen in another specific brain area, the hippocampal fissure, and seems to correlate with poorer visual memory and visuospatial functions. Previous data had suggested that change in this area is a radiological hallmark of ongoing brain atrophy in the hippocampus.

No. 5 – Tiny Brain Bleeds Associated with Parkinson’s Disease Dementia, Study Reports

The link between tiny bleeds in the brain — cerebral microbleeds (CBMs) — with both cognitive impairment in Parkinson’s disease and risk of associated dementia was No. 5 among the year’s most-read stories. CBMs are small (2-10 mm as assessed by MRI), chronic brain hemorrhages believed to be caused by structural abnormalities of the brain’s small vessels. Scientists found that CBMs were more common in Parkinson’s patients with dementia than in those without dementia, and were associated with lower cognitive scores. Other findings showed that patients with CBMs were older, and had more severe Parkinson’s symptoms and cerebrovascular lesions.

No. 4 – “Vitamin B12 Supplements May Help Slow Parkinson’s Progression, Study Finds

Patients at early stages of Parkinson’s with low levels of vitamin B12 may experience faster motor and cognitive decline. Prior work had shown that B12 deficiencies can induce neurological and motor symptoms associated with Parkinson’s, including depression, paranoia, muscular numbness, and weakness. This study differed in that it was conducted in untreated patients earlier in the disease course, and found slower progression in those taking a multivitamin supplement. Overall, the findings suggest that vitamin supplements may help slow symptom progression.

No. 3  “Xadago, Cannabinoids, Opioids May Be Best to Manage Parkinson’s Pain, Review Suggest

Pain is a frequent non-motor symptom of Parkinson’s disease. A review study found that its management may be most effective with Xadago (safinamide, by US WorldMeds) or with cannabinoids and opioids.  Other approaches, such as multidisciplinary team care, Comtan (entacapone) and Tasmar (tolcapone) may also provide pain relief. In turn, the investigational treatment pardoprunox (SLV-308) and surgery reported only moderate benefits on reducing pain severity.

No. 2 – “Medical Cannabis Helps Older People with Parkinson’s, Other Diseases, Study Finds

Medical cannabis is a safe and effective option to ease pain in older patients with Parkinson’s, cancer, or other illnesses. In a study involving 2,736 people 65  years or older, its use over six months enabled a reduction or discontinuation of opioid pain medications in over 18% of patients. Participants also reported an improved quality of life. The most common adverse events were dizziness and dry mouth, reported by 7.1% of patients.

No. 1 – “Vitamin B3 Compound May Prevent Motor Decline in Parkinson’s Disease, Study Says

Out most widely read article of 2018 reported that a form of vitamin B3 — nicotinamide riboside — prevented the loss of motor function and lessened nerve cell death in a fly model of Parkinson’s. It also increased the levels of a metabolic compound called NAD+ and improved energy balance in fish neurons with a defective GBA gene — the most frequent gene risk for Parkinson’s — and defects in mitochondria, the cell’s powerhouse. The researchers suggested that this form of vitamin B3 may help treat impaired mitochondria function, which has been linked to Parkinson’s development.

 

At Parkinson’s News Today, we hope that these articles,  along our continuing reporting throughout 2019, help to educate, inform, and improve the lives of patients and their loved ones.

We wish all our readers a happy 2019.

 

José is a science news writer with a PhD in Neuroscience from Universidade of Porto, in Portugal. He has studied Biochemistry also at Universidade do Porto and was a postdoctoral associate at Weill Cornell Medicine, in New York, and at The University of Western Ontario, in London, Ontario. His work ranged from the association of central cardiovascular and pain control to the neurobiological basis of hypertension, and the molecular pathways driving Alzheimer’s disease.
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José is a science news writer with a PhD in Neuroscience from Universidade of Porto, in Portugal. He has studied Biochemistry also at Universidade do Porto and was a postdoctoral associate at Weill Cornell Medicine, in New York, and at The University of Western Ontario, in London, Ontario. His work ranged from the association of central cardiovascular and pain control to the neurobiological basis of hypertension, and the molecular pathways driving Alzheimer’s disease.
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8 comments

  1. Rick Jimison says:

    Thank all of you at Parkinson’s News Today for providing such enlightenment to those of us with Parkinson’s. How about an article on the 10 most promising approaches to Parkinson’s treatment? What do your writers judge to be the most likely clinical approaches to lead to successful diminution of symptoms and/or an outright cure? Thank you,
    Rick Jimison [email protected]

  2. Maggie McGrane says:

    I’m new at this and going to the doctor today to confirm what i’ve Been thinking; that I have Parkinsons. I’ve been looking at your website and haven’t found much recent info. I felt bad. Now I see lots of new stuff. I’m encouraged. I know this is a lousy Dx, but I’m determined to make the very best of it. Thank you for the info. You’ll hear from me again.

  3. Jeff Gilligan says:

    I am not a scientist, but I know someone with early Parkinson’s symptoms who takes nicotinamide riboside and says his symptoms are eliminated as long as he takes it. He said it took a few months for the benefits to be fully realized.

    • Mike says:

      The trick is to find out early and take Tru Niagen (Nicotinamide Riboside). It can reverse early symptoms and prevent further deterioration. It may not be able to reverse late stage Parkinson’s because the damages are permanent.

  4. Nice try says:

    Individuals named “Jeff” and “Mike” frequently post to the shareholder message boards for one of the companies that mnaufacture nicotinamide riboside and specifically the “Tru Niagen” product Mike mentions and both have posted on a thread on one shareholder message board discussing this very article and that it promises billions of dollars of revenue for the company. I find their attempts to surreptitiously pump their own investments through touting Tru Niagen to gravely ill populations without disclosing their personal financial interest deplorable.i feel compelled to warn anyone that might fall for this not-so-subtle ploy by “Jeff” and “Mike” that nicotinamide riboside has shown promise in FLY models only, and if people are interested in trying it, it is available from a number of retailers excluding the company they are trying to promote, which sells nicotinamide riboside as “Niagen.” Alternatives include the “Basis” supplement from Elysium Health and “Nicotinamide Riboside” by Genex Formulas (on Amazon.) And while there have been no pubished human trials of which I am aware, a compound related to nicotinmide riboside called “NMN” has shown potential as a superior version of nicotinamide riboside and is available on Amazon. I am associated with none of the retailers I have listed but simply hate to see unscrupulous persons attempt to take advantage of this community!

    • Mike says:

      “Nice Try” is the Geof on yahoo message board working for Elysium. TRu Niagen is the only legit Nicotinamide Riboside on the market. Elysium is violating ChromaDex patents and committed criminal activities by stealing trade secrets from ChromaDex. The other sellers are also using NR from questionable sources from China.

  5. Lisa says:

    What the previous poster said were all lies. Both Elysium and Genex are selling counterfeit Niagen and violating patents. NMN needs to convert to Nicotinamide Riboside first before entering cells. So it is less efficient. There are many human trials if Nicotinamide Riboside that demonstrates it can raise NAD+ effectively. There has been zero clinical trials of NMN published.

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