Drug that treats an enlarged prostate may 'slow disability' in Parkinson's sufferers

A drug used to treat enlarged prostates may slow the progression of Parkinson's disease (PD), research suggests.Chinese scientists discovered that a medication called terazosin, approved for treating benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH), blocks cell death.It does this by activating the enzyme PGK1, which is critical for energy production in cells.This prompted the scientists to test terazosin in PD, a disease of which lower energy production is a hallmark.When the drug was tested in 13 men with the condition, the team noticed the rate at which their motor disability got worse slowed down.Further research with more than 2,800 PD patients then suggested terazosin 'reduces the signs, symptoms, and complications' of the progressive condition.A benefit of 're-purposing' a drug which is already used for another condition is that it has already been proven for people to take, the scientists said.The studies were carried out by a team of international scientists, which included researchers from Capital Medical University in Beijing and the University of Iowa.Around one in every 350 adults in the UK are diagnosed with Parkinson's, according to Parkinson's UK.And more than 10million people are living with the disease in the US, Parkinson's Foundation statistics reveal.While benign prostate hyperplasia, for which terazosin is already used, affects around 40 per cent of men aged 50 in the UK, rising to 90 per cent for those in their 90s, the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence states.In the US, the condition affects around half of men aged 51 to 60 and up to 90 per cent of men over 80, according to National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases.'Current medicines can partially alleviate some of the symptoms of Parkinson's disease,' senior author Dr Michael Welsh, from Iowa, said. 'But we have zero treatments that change the progressive course of this neurodegenerative disease. 'That's a terrible state, because as our population ages Parkinson's disease is going to become increasingly common.' Reduced energy production in cells is linked to both PD and ageing. Old age is also associated with the progressive neurological condition.WHAT IS PARKINSON'S? THE INCURABLE DISEASE THAT STRUCK BOXER MUHAMMAD ALI Parkinson’s disease affects one in 500 people, and around 127,000 people in the UK live with the condition.Figures also suggest one million Americans also suffer.It causes muscle stiffness, slowness of movement, tremors, sleep disturbance, chronic fatigue, an impaired quality of life and can lead to severe disability.It is a progressive neurological condition that destroys cells in the part of the brain that controls movement.Sufferers are known to have diminished supplies of dopamine because nerve cells that make it have died.There is currently no cure and no way of stopping the progression of the disease, but hundreds of scientific trials are underway to try and change that.  The disease claimed the life of boxing legend Muhammad Ali in 2016. And several inherited forms ...Read more

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