The treatment of Parkinson's disease using MAO-B inhibitors
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Monoamine Oxidase Inhibitors have sparked great controversy in the treatment of idiopathic Parkinson’s Disease. There is little doubt that Monoamine Oxidase Inhibitors work synergistically with Levodopa to reduce several major debilitating symptoms. Multiple other medications provide a similar symptomatic benefit when combined with Levodopa; thus, a symptomatic benefit alone does little to advance current Parkinson’s treatment. The great controversy in treatment then comes from the possibility that Monoamine Oxidase Inhibitors modify the natural course of Parkinson’s Disease. This class of drug protected nigrostriatal dopaminergic neurons in many cellular and animal studies. Clinical studies involving Monoamine Oxidase Inhibitors are more controversial. Several studies have shown results that suggest a neuroprotective effect while other have not. This may be because the tools used to assess PD progression are inadequate. To see a clear decrease in nigrostriatal dopaminergic death, and thus prove a neuroprotective effect, more advanced techniques to measure the progression of Parkinson’s Disease must be developed. Given the controversy it will be important to revisit the benefits of MAO-B inhibitors once more advanced progression techniques are available.