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Plasma selenium is positively related to performance in neurological tasks assessing coordination and motor speed

Authors

  • Avner Shahar MD, MPH,

    Corresponding author
    1. Laboratory of Epidemiology, Demography and Biometry, National Institue on Aging, Bethesda, Maryland, USA
    2. South district Geriatric Physician, Ministry of Health, Beer-Sheva, Israel
    • 5 Kibbutz Galuyot St., Gedera, 70700, Israel
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    • Avner Shahar and Kushang V. Patel contributed equally to this work.

  • Kushang V. Patel PhD,

    1. Laboratory of Epidemiology, Demography and Biometry, National Institue on Aging, Bethesda, Maryland, USA
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    • Avner Shahar and Kushang V. Patel contributed equally to this work.

  • Richard D. Semba MD, MPH,

    1. Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, Baltimore, Maryland, USA
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  • Stefania Bandinelli MD,

    1. Geriatric Rehabilitation Unit, Azienda Sanitaria Firenze, Italy
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  • Danit R. Shahar PhD,

    1. Laboratory of Epidemiology, Demography and Biometry, National Institue on Aging, Bethesda, Maryland, USA
    2. The S. Daniel Abraham International Center for health and Nutrition, Ben-Gurion University of the Negev, Beer-Sheva, Israel
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  • Louigi Ferrucci MD, PhD,

    1. Clinical Research Branch, National Institute on Aging, Baltimore, Maryland, USA
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  • Jack M. Guralnik MD, PhD

    1. Laboratory of Epidemiology, Demography and Biometry, National Institue on Aging, Bethesda, Maryland, USA
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  • Potential conflict of interest: Nothing to report.

Abstract

Parkinson's disease (PD) is a degenerative process affecting the striato nigral system (SN). Its etiology, although obscure, may involve oxidative damage. Selenium, an antioxidant, was shown to protect the SN in animal models. In the current study, we investigate the association between plasma selenium concentrations and the presence of “soft” neurological signs related to the SN. Plasma selenium concentration was assessed in participants of age ≥65 years in the InCHIANTI study, a population-based cohort study in Tuscany, Italy. PD was defined based on standard criteria. “Soft” neurological signs were ascertained by physical examination. A total of 1,012 participants were included. No association was found between the presence of PD and plasma selenium. There was, however, a strong association between plasma selenium and timed performance-based assessments. Lower levels of selenium were significantly associated withdecreased performance in neurological tests of coordination among older adults. Prospective studies are needed to further investigate the effects of selenium on SN dysfunction. © 2010 Movement Disorder Society

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