Treatment approaches and medications that attempt to prevent damage to neurons. In people with Parkinson’s disease, such therapies target preservation of the function of remaining dopaminergic neurons. Practical application of neuroprotective therapies for Parkinson’s disease is fairly limited at present. None of the antioxidants tested so far (tocopherol, selegiline, vitamin C, glutathione) demonstrate any clear proof of neuroprotection when given to humans with Parkinson’s, though a recent report on the use of coenzyme q-10 is encouraging. Most Parkinson’s experts recommend nutritional supplementation only to meet the body’s nutritional needs when diet alone cannot do so. clinical research trials are exploring other neuroprotective therapies such as genetic interventions whose purpose is to correct gene mutations and mitoCHONDRIAL DYSFUNCTION.
Neuroprotection is an important factor in Parkinson’s disease not only because it slows or prevents further loss of dopaminergic neurons but also because the cornerstone of medication therapy, levodopa, has been found in some cell culture studies to possibly contribute to neuron damage through increased oxidation. It is important to note that animal studies have not been very suggestive of this problem, and all human studies to date fail to demonstrate any increase in cell death from the use of levodopa. In fact, the human data clearly suggest that levodopa provides a survival benefit versus no treatment and is the most potent medication for relieving the symptoms of Parkinson’s. A recent large study suggests that it may have a mild protective effect against progression of off-medication symptoms.