Diabetes linked to increased risk of Parkinson’s

New research funded by Parkinson’s UK has identified further evidence that diabetes may increase risk of Parkinson's. The results show diabetes can contribute to the loss of brain cells in Parkinson's by activating oxidative stress, a type of stress that happens when toxic byproducts of cellular reactions, known as free radicals, start to build up.

Commenting on the study, published in Movement Disorders, Dr Beckie Port, Research Manager at Parkinson’s UK, said: “While the connection between Parkinson’s and diabetes has been known for some time, this latest research is a very exciting step towards a deeper understanding of the link between the two conditions.  

Researchers have been interested in the potential of existing diabetes medication to protect people from Parkinson’s and even slow the loss of brain cells caused by the condition - something no known treatment can do. Our work in this area is paving the way to develop treatments that target the underlying causes of Parkinson’s, not just mask the symptoms, as current treatments do. By slowing or halting cell damage before it starts, we could stop Parkinson’s in its tracks, truly improving the lives of people living with this devastating condition.”

Dr Beckie Port, Research Manager at Parkinson’s UK

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