British researchers say diabetes drug may help Parkinson's patie - WSLS 10 NBC in Roanoke/Lynchburg Va

British researchers say diabetes drug may help Parkinson's patients

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Researchers in Britain say a drug that's used to treat Diabetes can help people with Parkinson's disease.

Researchers gave Exenatide to a small group of patients. After receiving the treatment for a year, many patients displayed improved cognitive and motor functions while the control group did not.

"The difficulty is in our current climate there's not the money we need to do the large definitive experiment, the trial that shows whether a drug is effective or not," says Dr. Thomas Foltyunie of University College London.

The study also found a signal of effect that the drug may also slow down the disease process of Parkinson's

"What you're looking for is something that slows down the rate of deterioration," says Foltyunie.  "If you find something that stabilizes the system so people are not deteriorating at all that's even better.  What we've found is that there's a small improvement over the course of 12 months."

Researchers say it's too soon to know the actual effect of the drug but the study will get funds for a larger trial.

"I'm cautiously optimistic. We've done an experiment which is very encouraging but I don't want to give the wrong message to patients that we've proven this is helpful. We've got enough evidence to go forward and make the risk of investment less than what we had when we started," says Foltyunie.

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