London: Scientists have claimed that lithium could be a new weapon in the fight against Parkinson`s disease, after they found that it "profoundly prevents" brain damage due to this type of dementia.
Early stage tests of the commonly used medicine suggests lithium could be a cheap therapy to combat a range of brain disorders common in the elderly, say the scientists at the Buck Institute for Ageing in San Francisco.
They have based their findings on an analysis of mice. But, they hope to conduct their first trials in humans soon, `The Daily Telegraph` reported.
Compounds of lithium -- itself a soft alkali metal -- have been used for over 50 years to treat mania and mood swings. But its effect on a range of neuro-degenerative diseases is only starting to be appreciated.
Earlier this year a smallscale study of people with mild cognitive impairment -- trouble with memory and thinking -- found it delayed the onset of Alzheimer`s. Psychiatrists believe it slows the formation of amyloid plaques and brain cell tangles thought to cause the disease.