Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Smoking cessation drug improves walking function in patients with spinocerebellar ataxia type 3

23.02.2012
The University of South Florida-led multicenter study investigated the effectiveness of varenicline

A nicotinic drug approved for smoking cessation significantly improved the walking ability of patients suffering from an inherited form of ataxia, reports a new clinical study led by University of South Florida researchers.

The randomized controlled clinical trial investigated the effectiveness of varenicline (Chantix®) in treating spinocerebellar ataxia type 3, or SCA3. The findings were published online earlier this month in Neurology, the journal of the American Academy of Neuroscience.

Lead author Dr. Theresa Zesiewicz and colleagues at the USF Ataxia Research Center collaborated with researchers from Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center in Boston, MA, and from the David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA in Los Angeles, CA.

Spinocerebellar ataxia impairs the brain and spinal cord causing progressive difficulty with coordination of movements, including walking. The uncoordinated movements, or ataxia, is a neurological symptom with no treatment or cure and can lead to serious fall-related injuries.

"This is the first clinical trial in patients with ataxia showing that nicotinic acetycholine agonists improve symptoms associated with the ability to stand straight and walk," said Dr. Zesiewicz, professor of neurology and director of the USF Ataxia Research Center. "Patients receiving varenicline could walk with more ease, with less help and faster than those in the placebo group."

The double-blind multicenter study evaluated 20 adult patients with genetically confirmed SCA3. Half the patients received 1 mg. of varenicline twice a day, and the other half received placebo. At the end of the eight-week study, patients taking varenecline performed significantly better on measures of gait, stance, rapid alternating movements and a timed 25-foot walk than those who did not. The drug was fairly well tolerated, with mild nausea being the most common side effect.

The study authors suggest that varenicline's ability to improve ataxia may be associated with the drug's ability to act at several different sites in the brain affected by nicotine.

Study co-author Lynn Wecker, PhD, a distinguished research professor at USF Health, is investigating the cellular and molecular mechanisms mediating the effects of varenicline and other nicotinic agonists. Dr. Wecker and colleagues, supported by a five-year grant funded by the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke, have shown that several drugs affecting neuronal nicotinic receptors improve gait and balance in an animal model of SCA3.

Further preclinical research is needed to understand how nicotinic acetylcholine agonists improve ataxia, and larger clinical studies with more patients are needed to identify other neurodegenerative diseases that may benefit from nicotinic medications, the authors conclude.

The study was supported by the National Ataxia Foundation and the Bobby Allison Ataxia Research Center.

Citation: "A randomized trial of varenicline (Chantix) for the treatment of spinocerebellar ataxia type 3,"T.A. Zesiewicz, MD, FAAN; P.E. Greenstein, MB, BCh; K.L. Sullivan, MSPH; L. Wecker, PhD; A. Miller, BS; I. Jahan, MD; R. Chen, MD and S.L. Perlman, MD, FAAN, Neurology, published online before print Feb. 8, 2012. DOI: 10.1212/WNL.0b013e318247cc7a.

USF Health's mission is to envision and implement the future of health. It is the partnership of the USF Health Morsani College of Medicine, the College of Nursing, the College of Public Health, the College of Pharmacy, the School of Biomedical Sciences and the School of Physical Therapy and Rehabilitation Sciences; and the USF Physician's Group. The University of South Florida is a global research university ranked 34th in federal research expenditures for public universities.

Anne DeLotto Baier | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.usf.edu

More articles from Health and Medicine:

nachricht One gene closer to regenerative therapy for muscular disorders
01.06.2017 | Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center

nachricht The gut microbiota plays a key role in treatment with classic diabetes medication
01.06.2017 | University of Gothenburg

All articles from Health and Medicine >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Climate satellite: Tracking methane with robust laser technology

Heatwaves in the Arctic, longer periods of vegetation in Europe, severe floods in West Africa – starting in 2021, scientists want to explore the emissions of the greenhouse gas methane with the German-French satellite MERLIN. This is made possible by a new robust laser system of the Fraunhofer Institute for Laser Technology ILT in Aachen, which achieves unprecedented measurement accuracy.

Methane is primarily the result of the decomposition of organic matter. The gas has a 25 times greater warming potential than carbon dioxide, but is not as...

Im Focus: How protons move through a fuel cell

Hydrogen is regarded as the energy source of the future: It is produced with solar power and can be used to generate heat and electricity in fuel cells. Empa researchers have now succeeded in decoding the movement of hydrogen ions in crystals – a key step towards more efficient energy conversion in the hydrogen industry of tomorrow.

As charge carriers, electrons and ions play the leading role in electrochemical energy storage devices and converters such as batteries and fuel cells. Proton...

Im Focus: A unique data centre for cosmological simulations

Scientists from the Excellence Cluster Universe at the Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität Munich have establised "Cosmowebportal", a unique data centre for cosmological simulations located at the Leibniz Supercomputing Centre (LRZ) of the Bavarian Academy of Sciences. The complete results of a series of large hydrodynamical cosmological simulations are available, with data volumes typically exceeding several hundred terabytes. Scientists worldwide can interactively explore these complex simulations via a web interface and directly access the results.

With current telescopes, scientists can observe our Universe’s galaxies and galaxy clusters and their distribution along an invisible cosmic web. From the...

Im Focus: Scientists develop molecular thermometer for contactless measurement using infrared light

Temperature measurements possible even on the smallest scale / Molecular ruby for use in material sciences, biology, and medicine

Chemists at Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz (JGU) in cooperation with researchers of the German Federal Institute for Materials Research and Testing (BAM)...

Im Focus: Optoelectronic Inline Measurement – Accurate to the Nanometer

Germany counts high-precision manufacturing processes among its advantages as a location. It’s not just the aerospace and automotive industries that require almost waste-free, high-precision manufacturing to provide an efficient way of testing the shape and orientation tolerances of products. Since current inline measurement technology not yet provides the required accuracy, the Fraunhofer Institute for Laser Technology ILT is collaborating with four renowned industry partners in the INSPIRE project to develop inline sensors with a new accuracy class. Funded by the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF), the project is scheduled to run until the end of 2019.

New Manufacturing Technologies for New Products

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Plants are networkers

19.06.2017 | Event News

Digital Survival Training for Executives

13.06.2017 | Event News

Global Learning Council Summit 2017

13.06.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

A new technique isolates neuronal activity during memory consolidation

22.06.2017 | Life Sciences

Plant inspiration could lead to flexible electronics

22.06.2017 | Materials Sciences

A rhodium-based catalyst for making organosilicon using less precious metal

22.06.2017 | Materials Sciences

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>