Lithium Can Prevent Brain Damage Associated With Parkinson’s Disease


Lithium can profoundly prevent brain damage associated with Parkinson’s disease, according to a new study.

The drug works by preventing the aggregation of toxic proteins and cell loss associated with Parkinson’s.  It also appears to be protective against several other neurodegenerative conditions such as Alzheimer’s disease, Huntington’s disease and amyotrophic lateral sclerosis.

Researchers from the Buck Institute for Research on Aging studied the effects of lithium in mice and found that low dosages were sufficient to observe therapeutic benefits.

“The possibility that lithium could be effective in PD patients at subclinical levels is exciting, because it would avoid many side effects associated at the higher dose range,” said lead author and Buck Professor Julie Andersen, PhD, in a press release.

Overuse of lithium has previously been linked to hyperthyroidism and kidney toxicity.

Parkinson’s disease is a progressive, incurable neurodegenerative disorder that affects 1 million Americans.  It is characterized by tremors, slowness of movement and rigidity.

Between 50,000 and 60,000 new cases are diagnosed each year. Age is the largest risk factor for the disease, and its onset usually begins between the ages of 45 and 70 years.

The study was published in the Journal of Neuroscience Research.