Research: ZHANG

Listed in Issue 86


ZHANG et al., Department of Nutrition, Harvard School of Public Health, 665 Huntington Avenue, Boston, MA 02115, USA,, study the intakes of vitamins E and C, carotenoids, vitamin supplements, and the risk of Parkinson's disease.


Oxidative damage has been implicated in the pathogenesis of Parkinson's disease (PD) . Limited data suggest a reduction or no change in the risk of PD associated with high vitamin E intake.


In this prospective study, a total of 371 incident PD cases were ascertained in 2 large cohorts of men and women who completed detailed and validated semiquantitative food frequency questionnaires: the Nurses' Health Study which comprised 76,890 women who were followed for 14 years, and the Health Professionals' Follow-Up Study which comprised 47,331 men who were followed for 12 years.


Neither intake of total vitamin E or C or use of vitamin C or E supplements or multivitamins were associated with risk of PD . However the risk of PD was significantly reduced in men and women with high intake of dietary vitamin E from foods only . Consumption of nuts was also significantly associated with a reduced risk of PD .


The use of vitamin supplements and high intake of carotenoids does not seem to reduce the risk of PD . The reduction in risk of Parkinson's disease associated with high vitamin E from foods suggest that other constituents of these foods may have a protective effect, or that moderate amounts of vitamin E may reduce the risk of PD but the benefit is lost with higher intakes .


Zhang SM, Hernan MA, Chen H, Spiegelman D, Willett WC, Ascherio A, et al. Intakes of vitamins E and C, carotenoids, vitamin supplements, and PD risk. Neurology 59 (8): 1161-1169, Oct 2002.


The above two studies regarding the potential role of antioxidants in the involvement of neurodegenerative disorders are potentially hugely important both to the prevention and possibly treatment of two currently devastating and fairly intractable conditions – HIV and Parkinson's Disease. It is conceivable that antioxidant therapy could also be helpful for another fatal condition – motor neurone disease; there is a considerable interest in this research topic, as evidenced by a short search of with the key words: antioxidants and motor neurone disease.

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