NWPF

News ArchivesRead News

Silent Stroke Can Cause Parkinson's Disease

Wednesday December 26, 2012

Christian Nordqvist

Medical News Today - A "small stroke", also known as a "silent stroke" can cause Parkinson's disease - this explains why some people who are outwardly health may develop the disease.

Researchers from the Faculty of Life Sciences at the University of Manchester, England, explained in the journal Brain Behavior and Immunity that severe stroke has been associated with Parkinson's. However, a significant number of people develop the tremors and other symptoms linked to the disease for no clear reason, "symptoms come out of the blue".

Several situations, diseases and conditions have been linked to a higher risk of Parkinson's disease, from exposure to vibrations and having severe flu. This is the first time scientists associated Parkinson's with silent strokes.

A silent stroke can occur without the sufferer even knowing about it - it may have no outward symptoms. A small stroke occurs when a blood vessel in the brain becomes blocked for a very brief period.

Although silent strokes may not be noticeable, they can have lasting effects. Dopaminergic neurons in the substantia nigra in the brain can die. The substantia nigra plays a key role in movement coordination.

Team leader, Dr. Emmanuel Pinteaux, said:

"At the moment we don't know why dopaminergic neurons start to die in the brain and therefore why people get Parkinson's disease. There have been suggestions that oxidative stress and aging are responsible. What we wanted to do in our study was to look at what happens in the brain away from the immediate area where a silent stroke has occurred and whether that could lead to damage that might result in Parkinson's disease."


Dr. Pinteaux and team induced a silent stroke like state (mild stroke) in the striatum area of the brain in laboratory mice. After the stroke, they detected inflammation and damage in the striatum - this was no surprise.

However, they noticed that another area of the brain - the substantia nigra - was also damaged. There had been a rapid loss of Substance P, a chemical which that region of the brain needs to function properly. There was also inflammation in the substantia nigra.

Neurodegeneration was also identified in the substantia nigra six days after the mild stroke - dopaminergic neurons had been destroyed.

Dr Pinteaux said: "It is well known that inflammation following a stroke can be very damaging to the brain. But what we didn't fully appreciate was the impact on areas of the brain away from the location of the stroke.

Our work identifying that a silent stroke can lead to Parkinson's disease shows it is more important than ever to ensure stroke patients have swift access to anti-inflammatory medication. These drugs could potentially either delay or stop the onset of Parkinson's disease.

What our findings also point to is the importance of maintaining a healthy lifestyle. There are already guidelines about exercise and healthy eating to help reduce the risk of having a stroke and our research suggests that a healthy lifestyle can be applied to Parkinson's disease as well."

Dr. Pinteaux would like to back up these findings on humans by examining patients who suffered a silent stroke, to assess dopaminergic neuron degeneration.

Until the new clinical investigation on humans is set up, the team are now trying to better understand what mechanisms are involved when inflammation occurs within the substantia nigra.

Recent News

May 20 - Book Review: Aging in the Key of Humor
May 19 - Press Release: The Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson's Research Joins Multinational Critical Path for Parkinson's Consortium
May 19 - Congress reaches deal to overhaul chemical regulation
May 16 - Lifestyle: Why Parkinson's disease won't stop me rowing across the Pacific
May 16 - Many biomarkers for PD fail to inform on progression
May 10 - Parkinson's Cell Transplant Shows Good Reinnervation at 24 Years
May 7 - Growing art installation gathers stories of living with Parkinson's
May 5 - New technique can provide better cell transplants against Parkinson's disease
May 2 - What's Good For The Heart Is Good For The Brain
Apr 29 - Press Release: FDA approves first drug to treat hallucinations and delusions associated with Parkinson’s disease
Apr 28 - Dopamine-making neurons can be chemically controlled in animal model of Parkinson's
Apr 25 - Lifestyle: Dating with Disease
Apr 25 - Scientific breakthrough in fight against Parkinson's and Alzheimer's
Apr 20 - Breakthrough Parkinson's disease blood test
Apr 15 - Living with Parkinson's
Apr 12 - Tissue biomarker for dementia with Lewy bodies and Parkinson’s disease
Apr 11 - Yoga for Every Body: Experts say yoga can ease pain and improve mobility for people with neurologic conditions
Apr 9 - Commonly prescribed Parkinson's drugs up risk of compulsive gambling, shopping, binge eating, hypersexuality
Apr 7 - Pfizer and IBM Launch Innovative Research Project to Transform Parkinson's Disease Care
Apr 7 - Parkinson's Drug Highly Effective for Resistant Depression