Diary of Unknown Symptoms

Mystery of the Internal Vibration

Entry for August 08, 2006

Does sneezing point to Parkinson’s?
10:31am 8th August 2006

Common allergies could be directly linked to the chances of developing Parkinson’s Disease, scientists have discovered. Research revealed that sufferers from allergies such as hayfever, that trigger runny noses and streaming eyes, are three times more likely to develop the brain condition.

The discovery could shed new light on Parkinson’s as it suggests inflammation may play a key role in the disease. However the researchers stressed there is little allergy sufferers can do to alter their risk of developing it. They should continue with their normal medicines to try to prevent their allergic symptoms.

Allergic rhinitis is the medical term for an inflammation of the nasal passages which is caused by the immune system over-reacting to substances in the air. One of the most common forms is hayfever which is triggered by pollen and the reaction can also be caused by dust and animal hair, leaving sufferers with permanent cold-like symptoms.

About a third of Britons will develop an allergy at some point in their lives and around 12 million get hayfever. The latest study, published in the journal Neurology, set out to discover if inflammation that is to blame for allergies is also linked to Parkinson’s Disease.

Previous research had revealed that taking anti-inflammatory drugs appeared to cut the risk of developing Parkinson’s, which affects around one in 500 people and leaves patients unable to control their movements.

Scientists from the Mayo Clinic in Minnesota studied 196 people who developed Parkinson’s and, over a 20-year period, compared them with the same number who did not. They found that patients who had allergic rhinitis were 2.9 times more likely to develop Parkinson’s than those without the reaction.

Lead researcher Dr James Bower said: ‘The association with Parkin-son’s Disease is increased to almost three times that of someone who does not have allergic rhinitis. ‘That’s actually a pretty high elevation.’

The study did not examine in detail what kind of allergy each person had nor when symptoms began. The team also stressed that it did not prove the allergies were causing Parkinson’s – just that there is a link between the two diseases and it may come down to inflammation.

‘People with allergic rhinitis mount an immune response with their allergies so they may be more likely to mount an immune response in the brain as well, which would produce inflammation,’ suggested

Dr Bower. ‘The inflammation produced may release certain chemicals in the brain and inadvertently kill brain cells as we see in Parkinson’s. ‘This discovery is exciting because in future we may be able to develop medications to block the inflammation.’

He warned, however, there is little allergy sufferers can do now to reduce their potential risk of developing the brain disease. ‘I wouldn’t worry if you have allergies,’ he said. ‘Treat the allergy symptoms you have to alleviate them at the time.’ But he added: ‘At this point we have no good evidence that this treatment will protect you from possibly developing Parkinson’s disease later.’


August 8, 2006 - Posted by | Health | , ,

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