NIH Studies Dietary Supplement For Parkinson's

Washington (AP) -- Government scientists hope to find out if a dietary supplement thought to boost muscles might help those who suffer from Parkinson's.

The National Institutes of Health has launched a major study to see if creatine might help preserve the nerve cells that die off in Parkinson's, and thus slow the disease's worsening.

The study will enroll more than 1,700 people with early-stage Parkinson's, using doses higher than usual with today's over-the-counter brands. It's not something to be attempted at home. An expert says creatine can have potential side effects including kidney failure and muscle and heart problems.

Parkinson's affects 1.5 million people in the United States and 6 million worldwide. It gradually destroys brain cells that produce dopamine, a chemical crucial for the cellular communication that controls muscle movement.

Copyright 2007 by the Associated Press. All rights reserved.

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