Gout Offers Some Protection Against Parkinson's Disease

Association applies only to older non-smoking men, not women

TUESDAY, Oct. 23 (HealthDay News) -- Older men who have gout are less likely to develop Parkinson's disease, but this protection does not appear to extend to women, researchers report in the Oct. 23 issue of Neurology.

Alvaro Alonso, M.D., Ph.D., of the University of Minnesota in Minneapolis, and colleagues used medical records from the General Practice Research Database in the United Kingdom to identify 1,052 individuals, mean age of 70, who developed Parkinson's disease. These were compared to 6,634 controls.

Among individuals diagnosed with gout, there was a 30 percent reduction in incidence of Parkinson's disease. This apparent protective effect applied only to men over the age of 60 and non-smokers. A weaker association was observed between Parkinson's disease and those who had started using anti-gout medication.

"Different biologic mechanisms can account for the association between gout, hyperuricemia, and lower Parkinson's disease risk," write the authors. "The observed protection seems to be mediated through inhibition of peroxynitrate-mediated neurotoxicity, a mechanism also involved in Parkinson's disease pathogenesis. Similarly, uric acid has been shown to reduce oxidative damage by free radicals in DNA molecules."

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