Lithium prevents brain damage

A study has found that lithium profoundly prevents the aggregation of toxic proteins and cell loss associated with Parkinson`s disease (PD).

New Delhi: A study has found that lithium profoundly prevents the aggregation of toxic proteins and cell loss associated with Parkinson`s disease (PD).
The Buck Institute for Research, which carried out the study on a mouse model of the condition, is currently working toward initiating a Phase IIa clinical study of lithium in humans in conjunction with standard PD drug therapy.

"This is the first time lithium has been tested in an animal model of PD," lead author and Buck Professor Julie Andersen, PhD, said.

"The fact that lithium`s safety profile in humans is well understood greatly reduces trial risk and lowers a significant hurdle to getting it into the clinic," she stated.

According to Andersen, lithium has recently been suggested to be neuroprotective in relation to several neurodegenerative conditions including Alzheimer`s disease, Huntington`s disease and amyotrophic lateral sclerosis and has been touted for its anti-aging properties in simple animals.

"The possibility that lithium could be effective in PD patients at sub clinical levels is exciting, because it would avoid many side effects associated at the higher dose range," Andersen said.

Overuse of lithium has been linked to hyperthyroidism and kidney toxicity.

Andersen`s research focuses on lithium as a potential treatment for PD as well as its efficacy in combination with drugs currently used to control the symptoms of the disease.

The research appears in the June 24 online edition of the Journal of Neuroscience Research.

Queensland researchers have confirmed that men`s colds are worse than women`s sniffles.

According to the researchers, when the dreaded bug strikes, women have a much stronger immune response to the virus than men.

Led by Professor John Upham from the University of Queensland`s school of medicine, the five-member research team established that gender was a factor in how the immune system reacts to rhinoviruses, the viruses that usually cause the common cold.

Researchers from the University of Queensland and Princess Alexandra Hospital made the discovery after studying how people with asthma respond to rhinoviruses - which often results in hospitalisation.

In the process the researchers noticed that within their study group of healthy people there was a noticeable difference in the male and female responses to the cold viruses for those participants aged under 50.

"The biology is telling us something that female hormones are having a beneficial effect on the immune system, so we are going to investigate if there is a way of using that insight to develop a vaccine,```` Sydney Morning Herald quoted him as saying.

The findings have been published in the journal Respiratory Research.


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