Could estrogen help treat Parkinson's?

Researchers are studying the use of estrogen to help combat Parkinson’s disease.

Harvard researchers used a mouse model of Parkinson’s disease. They treated the mice with DHED, a chemical that boosts estrogen levels in the brain.

The motor function of male and female mice before and after treatment was then compared, in addition to how alpha-synuclein behaved in the brain and the rate of neuron death. The female mice had less severe symptoms than the male mice, but estrogen treatment still improved their symptoms. In male mice, estrogen slowed the loss of nerve fibers and improved motor symptoms. Estrogen reduced the buildup of mutated alpha-synuclein.

Research is needed in humans to understand the potential benefits further.

Several studies have hinted at the neuroprotective effects of estrogen. A recent study in mice looks at how it might defend against Parkinson’s disease.

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