Michael Okun, M.D., UF neurology chair and medical director of the National Parkinson’s Foundation recently commented in a news story released by South Africa’s news24 about the potential increased risk of developing Parkinson’s disease for diabetic patients. A recent study found that adults with diabetes who had already developed diabtes-related health issues (such as damage to the kidney, nerves or retina) were 49% more likely to develop Parkinson’s disease.
Dr. Okun, who also serves as the co-director of the movement disorders center at the University of Florida mentioned that “there are many potential explanations for a link between the two diseases, but in younger patients, genetics likely plays a key role. In older patients, the degenerative process itself may disrupt brain-driven endocrine pathways, including those related to insulin and to sugar management.”
The reasons behind any association between the two disease is unknown, and will require further research to be understood.