August 11, 2006
Allergic Rhinitis And Vitamin B6 Change Parkinson's Disease Risk

Allergic rhinitis appears to triple the risk of getting Parkinson's Disease.

Rochester, Minn. -- Researchers from Mayo Clinic have discovered that allergic rhinitis is associated with the development of Parkinson's disease later in life. Findings will be published in the Aug. 8 issue of the journal Neurology.

"The association with Parkinson's disease is increased to almost three times that of someone who does not have allergic rhinitis," says James Bower, M.D., Mayo Clinic neurologist and lead study investigator. "That's actually a pretty high elevation."

Previous studies had shown that people who regularly take nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, such as ibuprofen, are less likely to develop Parkinson's disease. These results prompted the Mayo Clinic investigators to look further into the links between diseases characterized by inflammation and Parkinson's. They studied 196 people who developed Parkinson's disease, matched with people of similar age and gender who did not develop Parkinson's. The study was conducted in Olmsted County, Minn., home of Mayo Clinic, over a 20-year period.

The researchers examined these groups to determine if those who developed Parkinson's disease had more inflammatory diseases. They found that those with allergic rhinitis were 2.9 times more likely to develop Parkinson's. They did not find a similar association between inflammatory diseases such as lupus, rheumatoid arthritis, pernicious anemia or vitiligo and Parkinson's disease. The researchers hypothesize that they may not have found significant links between these diseases and Parkinson's disease due to the relatively small number of those in the population who have these diseases, and thus the small number with these diseases in their population sample study. They also did not find the same association with Parkinson's disease in patients with asthma that they discovered in those with allergic rhinitis.

Would fairly regular use of Flonase (nasal anti-allergy spray) reduce the risk of Parkinson's? Or would antihistamines reduce the risk?

By contrast people who consume higher levels of vitamin B6 cut their risk of Parkinson's substantially.

Researchers from the Erasmus Medical Center in the Netherlands studied around 5,300 participants over the age of 55, and found that those who had the highest intake of vitamin B6 had up to a 50 percent reduction in Parkinson's disease risk.

The researchers suspect that B6 exerts a protective effect by lowering blood homocysteine. If that is the mechanism then other nutrients that lower homocysteine (most notably folic acid) might also reduce the risk of Parkinson's.

Share |      Randall Parker, 2006 August 11 12:04 AM  Brain Aging

Becket Saunders said at August 19, 2006 10:09 PM:

Link Between Allergic Rhinitis And Parkinson's - Clarification
Main Category: Parkinson's Disease News
Article Date: 09 Aug 2006 - 0:00am (PDT)
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Media coverage has been reporting that allergies are linked to Parkinson's. An article in The Times (UK) states "millions of people who suffer from chronic allergies to pets, dust and spores are up to three times more likely to develop Parkinson's later in life."

Although the research study reported on did establish that there was a greater incidence of allergic rhinitis amongst the group of Parkinson's patients, this does not establish that allergic rhinitis is a cause of Parkinson's. Rather, it may demonstrate that allergic rhinitis may be one of the effects of Parkinson's.

The research studied a group of 196 people with Parkinson's matched with people of similar age and gender who did not, over a 20-year period. The two groups were examined to determine if people with Parkinson's suffered from more inflammatory conditions.

It is important to note that this study was not designed to establish whether the incidence of Parkinson's amongst people with allergic rhinitis was greater than that seen amongst the general population.

The exact causes of Parkinson's are currently unknown. Research is ongoing in this area. It is generally understood that Parkinson's results from a combination of genetic and environmental factors.

Dr. Kieran Breen, Director of Research says:

"Understanding why dopamine-producing cells within the brain die is crucial to our understanding of Parkinson's. Although there are likely to be many contributory factors, this study does not establish any convincing causal link between allergic rhinitis and Parkinson's. People who do have allergic rhinitis should not be concerned by the findings of this study."

Parkinson's affects approximately 120,000 people in the UK.

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