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 Study tracks inner workings of the brain with new biosensor
16.08.2018 | Rheinische Friedrich-Wilhelms-Universität Bonn

nachricht Foods of the future
15.08.2018 | Georg-August-Universität Göttingen

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: It’s All in the Mix: Jülich Researchers are Developing Fast-Charging Solid-State Batteries

There are currently great hopes for solid-state batteries. They contain no liquid parts that could leak or catch fire. For this reason, they do not require cooling and are considered to be much safer, more reliable, and longer lasting than traditional lithium-ion batteries. Jülich scientists have now introduced a new concept that allows currents up to ten times greater during charging and discharging than previously described in the literature. The improvement was achieved by a “clever” choice of materials with a focus on consistently good compatibility. All components were made from phosphate compounds, which are well matched both chemically and mechanically.

The low current is considered one of the biggest hurdles in the development of solid-state batteries. It is the reason why the batteries take a relatively long...

Im Focus: Color effects from transparent 3D-printed nanostructures

New design tool automatically creates nanostructure 3D-print templates for user-given colors
Scientists present work at prestigious SIGGRAPH conference

Most of the objects we see are colored by pigments, but using pigments has disadvantages: such colors can fade, industrial pigments are often toxic, and...

Im Focus: Unraveling the nature of 'whistlers' from space in the lab

A new study sheds light on how ultralow frequency radio waves and plasmas interact

Scientists at the University of California, Los Angeles present new research on a curious cosmic phenomenon known as "whistlers" -- very low frequency packets...

Im Focus: New interactive machine learning tool makes car designs more aerodynamic

Scientists develop first tool to use machine learning methods to compute flow around interactively designable 3D objects. Tool will be presented at this year’s prestigious SIGGRAPH conference.

When engineers or designers want to test the aerodynamic properties of the newly designed shape of a car, airplane, or other object, they would normally model...

Im Focus: Robots as 'pump attendants': TU Graz develops robot-controlled rapid charging system for e-vehicles

Researchers from TU Graz and their industry partners have unveiled a world first: the prototype of a robot-controlled, high-speed combined charging system (CCS) for electric vehicles that enables series charging of cars in various parking positions.

Global demand for electric vehicles is forecast to rise sharply: by 2025, the number of new vehicle registrations is expected to reach 25 million per year....

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

VideoLinks
Industry & Economy
Event News

LaserForum 2018 deals with 3D production of components

17.08.2018 | Event News

Within reach of the Universe

08.08.2018 | Event News

A journey through the history of microscopy – new exhibition opens at the MDC

27.07.2018 | Event News

 
Latest News

Quantum bugs, meet your new swatter

20.08.2018 | Information Technology

A novel synthetic antibody enables conditional “protein knockdown” in vertebrates

20.08.2018 | Life Sciences

Metamolds: Molding a mold

20.08.2018 | Information Technology

VideoLinks
Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>