According to an item in a recent issue of the London Daily Telegraph, dogs could ‘sniff out’ Parkinson’s disease years before symptoms appear. It is well known that canines have a much greater olfactory sense than humans and indeed several previous studies have identified a number of human diseases including cancer which potentially could be picked up at an early stage by trained dogs. If confirmed, this work might allow PD to be diagnosed and treated at an early stage thus theoretically suppressing or delaying the onset of symptoms. However, the research has a long way to go until it is confirmed!
According to a recent small clinical trial supported by the Michael J Fox Foundation for Parkinson’s Research and published in the Lancet, a commonly used diabetes drug Exenatide had ‘positive’ (beneficial) effects on the motor (movement) symptoms of PD. In particular it significantly prolonged the symptom relief provided by standard treatment. The authors of the article concluded that Exenatide “represents a major new avenue for investigation in Parkinson’s disease, and effects on everyday symptoms should be examined in longer-term trials.”