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Sir Roger Bannister, the first man to run a four-minute mile, has revealed he has Parkinson's disease.
The 85-year-old former athlete, who went on to have a distinguished medical career, told BBC Radio Oxford he was now "having trouble with walking" because of the disease.
Doctors believe a drug used to treat diabetes could significantly help people suffering from Parkinson's Disease.
Tests on the drug are still in their very early stages, but initial results suggest it might combat aspects of the physical degeneration caused by the disease.
ITV News reporter Ben Chapman reports:
Parkinson's UK have said it is "too soon to know effects" the common diabetes drug Exenatide will have on the treatment of Parkinson's disease.
This new research is a huge step forward in the on-going fight to find a drug which can slow down, or even halt, the progression of Parkinson's.
Despite these encouraging results, it is simply too soon to tell whether this drug is a blind alley or a breakthrough for people with Parkinson's.
The research was conducted in a very small number of people and, crucially, without a placebo group – making it difficult to draw too many firm conclusions at this stage.
We look forward to seeing the results of a much larger trial to fully examine the usefulness of exenatide for people with Parkinson's.
A diabetes drug called Exenatide could be beneficial for the treatment of Parkinson's disease, new research has found.
This new study is perhaps more noteworthy for the approach it has taken with respect to the clinical trial design.
All of this was done in a modest number of patients and the results compared with a matched control arm that received best medical therapy.
Using this approach they found a signal of effect that suggested that the drug may well be slowing down the disease process.
All of which is good news not only for patients with PD but for us all, as we seek to explore how drugs already out there could be repositioned.
A common diabetes drug called Exenatide could be beneficial for the treatment of Parkinson's disease, new research suggests.Read the full story ›
- Although research is ongoing, to date there is no known cure or way to prevent Parkinson's disease.
- Parkinson's disease (PD) is a degenerative neurological disorder marked by a progressive loss of motor control.
- The recent study investigated the use of a drug approved for diabetes care, Exenatide, in PD patients.
- Patients were divided into two groups: 20 patients received Exenatide injections for 12 months, while the other group of 24 patients served as controls.
- After one year of treatment patients receiving Exenatide displayed improved cognitive ability and motor skills, while control patients declined.
- The study suggests that Exenatide may improved motor function in patients and provides a strong rationale for conducting a larger study.
The study was carried out by the Journal of Clinical Investigation.
- Parkinson's is a progressive neurological condition.
- One person in every 500 has Parkinson's. That's about 127,000 people in the UK.
- Most people who get Parkinson's are aged 50 or over but younger people can get it too. One in 20 is under the age of 40.
- People with Parkinson's don't have enough of a chemical called dopamine because some nerve cells in their brain have died.
- Without dopamine people can find that their movements become slower so it takes longer to do things.
- The loss of nerve cells in the brain causes the symptoms of Parkinson's to appear.
- There's currently no cure for Parkinson's and we don't yet know why people get the condition.
- Parkinson's doesn't directly cause people to die, but symptoms do get worse over time.
Source: Parkinson's UK