Can Injections Of Neurotrophic Factors Into The Brain Help Parkinson’s?

Not according to a recent study. This involved surgically treated patients compared with those randomized to sham surgery in order to eliminate placebo effect. Injections of the neurotrophic factor neurturin into areas of the brain affected by Parkinson’s, specifically substantia nigra and putamen, were done, and patients were assessed at 15 months. There was no difference between the 2 groups. The procedure was generally safe though 2 patients had small brain hemorrhages. A previous similar study also showed no benefit.

Parkinson’s patients should be aware that both exercise and coffee consumption have been shown to improve symptoms. These strategies probably lead to increased trophic factors in the brain, and benefit can be achieved without the added risk of a transplant.

See Annals of Neurology, August 2015.

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