Vitamin D and Parkinson's disease—A hypothesis

Authors

  • Harold L. Newmark DSc (Hon),

    Corresponding author
    1. Susan Lehman Cullman Laboratory for Cancer Research, Department of Chemical Biology, Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey, Piscataway, New Jersey, USA
    • Susan Lehman Cullman Laboratory for Cancer Research, Department of Chemical Biology, Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey, 164 Frelinghuysen Road, Piscataway, NJ 08854-8020
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  • Jonathan Newmark MD

    1. Deputy Joint Program Executive Officer for Medical Systems, Joint Program Executive Office for Chemical/Biological Defense, Department of Defense, Falls Church, Virginia, USA
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  • The opinions herein expressed are solely those of the authors and not necessarily those of the Joint Program Executive Office for Chemical Biological Defense, the Department of the Army, or the Department of Defense.

Abstract

Parkinson's disease (PD), a common disease of the elderly, is a movement disorder characterized by tremor, akinesia, and loss of postural reflexes, leading to immobility and frequent falls. It results from selective loss (death) of dopaminergic neurons in the substantia nigra region of the brain, largely developed prior to clinical diagnosis, and continuous after diagnosis, despite use of current therapeutic modalities. In PD in the United States the cause and mechanism of continued neuron cell death in the substantia nigra is currently unknown. We hypothesize, based upon several lines of evidence, that documented chronically inadequate vitamin D intake in the United States, particularly in the northern states and particularly in the elderly, is a significant factor in the pathogenesis of PD. This hypothesis implies that dietary aid for prevention and therapy for PD is possible. © 2006 Movement Disorder Society

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