Blood pressure pills reduce Parkinson's risk

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London, Feb 7 (UNI) Blood pressure pills can reduce the risk of Parkinson's disease, a research says.

According to the research long-term use of calcium channel blockers, one of several types of blood pressure-lowering tablets in widespread use, cuts the likelihood of developing the debilitating brain disease by 23 per cent.

Blood pressure medications, such as beta blockers and ACE inhibitors, do not have the same effect as calcium channel blockers like verapamil and diltiazem, the journal Neurology reports.

The Swiss researchers made the link after studying the health and medical records of more than 7,000 British men and women, half of whom had Parkinson's, the Daily Mail reported today.

All were aged 40 or over and almost half were taking blood pressure medication.

Analysis showed that those taking calcium channel blockers were less likely to have developed Parkinson's, with those who had used the drugs for the longest enjoying the greatest protection.

The researchers, from the University Hospital Basel in Switzerland, said more research was needed to confirm and explain the effect of calcium channel blockers on the development of Parkinson's.

However, Dr Kieran Breen of the Parkinson's Disease Society said it was too early to state with confidence whether calcium channel blockers could protect against Parkinson's disease.

''The death of nerve cells that occurs in Parkinson's takes place over a number of years. Although people using calcium channel blockers in this study had a lower incidence of Parkinson's we cannot determine whether these drugs can prevent the condition,'' Dr Breen.

Although Parkinson's disease is most common in the over-60s, the condition can strike at any time. Symptoms include tremors, stiffness and a gradual slowing down of the body. As the disease progresses, speech balance can all be affected and some sufferers become wheelchair-bound.

High-profile sufferers of Parkinson's disease include Michael J Fox, who was just 30 when he was diagnosed with the condition, and Muhammad Ali.

UNI XC MS RK1053

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