Is Parkinson’s Disease Hormone Related?

More than one and a half million Americans currently suffer from Parkinson’s disease and Alzheimer’s disease, the former disease usually develops in people over 60 but can, in a lower percentage affect people who are younger than 50.

The symptoms of Parkinson’s disease are rigidity, problems of balance and tremor.

As Parkinson’s disease is much more common in men than in women, scientists are studying a theory, by which women’s hormones may have a great influence in preventing the development of the disease.

In a study by researchers at the Albert Einstein College of Medicine of Yeshiva University, it was determined that women with a longer fertile life span and production of endogenous hormones, such as estrogen were more protected against Parkinson’s disease, than others with a shorter fertile life.

Repeated pregnancies of more than four also increased the likelihood of contracting the disease, due to the prolonged periods of postpartum depression, which follow the pregnancy, where levels or estrogens are at their lowest.

These results are leading researchers to envisage a possible hormone therapy to prevent the development of Parkinson’s disease in women, although women who were taking external hormone treatment were not found to have a lower risk of contracting the disease.

Further research must be carried out to determine the exact effect a hormone therapy may have as a neuroprotective treatment.