'E' and MONOAMINES: What is the risk?

ljh at yellow.cc.utexas.edu ljh at yellow.cc.utexas.edu
Wed Apr 12 18:23:35 EST 1995

 Tim Shallart (of the Univ. of TX Psychology Dept.) recently lectured to
our Neuroscience class about the basal ganglia, and presented ideas very
much in line with your suggestion. He noted that it was possible to have
adequate basal ganglia function with as few as 5% of your original
dopaminergic neurons. Many of the drug abusers with the Parkinson's-like
symptoms did recover to normal functioning, but they may well have knocked
out 80% of the dopaminergic neurons. He argued that since these patients
have far less redundancy in their basal ganglia than normals, they are
less likely to age gracefully- as they age, their Parkinsonian symptoms
are likely to reappear. His research in rats supports this. He also
noted that amphetamine and methamphetamine can be converted to 6-HD,
which can kill basal ganglia cells in much the same way that MPP+ does,
and so that those who abuse those drugs may also be at risk of early
Parkinson's, even if they have yet to have any visible symptoms of basal
ganglia disorder.

  Lisa J. Harris

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