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Wolfson Institute of Preventive Medicine - Barts and The London

Convincing evidence that type 2 diabetes is associated with increased risk of Parkinson’s

Research from the Wolfson Institute’s Preventive Neurology Unit has concluded that there is convincing evidence that type 2 diabetes is associated with an increased risk of Parkinson’s disease. The same study found that there was also evidence that type 2 diabetes may contribute to faster disease progression in patients who already have Parkinson’s. Treating people with drugs already available for type 2 diabetes may reduce the risk and slow the progression of Parkinson’s. Screening for and early treatment of type 2 diabetes in patients with Parkinson’s may be advisable.

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Previous systematic reviews and meta-analyses have produced conflicting results around the link between diabetes and the risk of Parkinson’s disease. This new study used meta-analysis of observational data and meta-analysis of genetic data to evaluate the effect of type 2 diabetes on risk and progression of Parkinson’s disease. 

Corresponding author Dr Alastair Noyce said: This research brings together the results from many other studies to provide convincing evidence that type 2 diabetes likely affects not only Parkinson’s risk, but also Parkinson’s progression. There are many treatment strategies for type 2 diabetes, including prevention strategies, which may be re-purposed for the treatment of Parkinson’s.

The Preventive Neurology Unit is funded by Barts Charity. Funding for co-authors came from the Michael J. Fox Foundation, the Canadian Consortium on Neurodegeneration in Aging (CCNA), the Canada First Research Excellence Fund (CFREF), Parkinson Canada, and the Intramural Research Program of the NIH, National Institute on Aging.

Type 2 diabetes as a determinant of Parkinson's disease risk and progression. Harneek Chohan, Konstantin Senkevich, Radhika K Patel, Jonathan P Bestwick, Benjamin M Jacobs, Sara Bandres Ciga, Ziv Gan-Or, Alastair J Noyce. Movement Disorders Journal, 2021.