The Diabetes-Parkinson’s Connection
Author: Sara Altshul
Source: Prevention, November 2006
Finnish researchers have turned up a disturbing link between diabetes and Parkinson’s disease, the nervous system disorder that leads to muscle tremors and paralysis. In an 18-year study that tracked 51,552 healthy individuals with no family history of the disease, those who developed diabetes were twice as likely to end up with Parkinson’s as nondiabetics. No one’s sure what the connection is yet, but it’s possible that receptors for the neurotransmitter dopamine – which helps direct muscles – may be impaired in diabetics, says study author Jaakko Tuomilehto, MD, a professor at the University of Helsinki. Whatever the link, he recommends that diabetics and their doctors be alert to the potential risk and watch for symptoms – trembling limbs, body stiffness, and loss of balance and coordination.