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October 1980

Duration of Illness and Response to Tryptophan in Parkinson's Disease-Reply

Author Affiliations

Department of Neurology Public Health Service Hospital Staten Island, NY
Department of Neurology National Institutes of Health Bethesda, MD 20014

Arch Neurol. 1980;37(10):677. doi:10.1001/archneur.1980.00500590101027

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In Reply.—  Dr Bryant has subjected our results to additional statistical analysis. His observation that disease duration correlates positively with tryptophan-associated deterioration in BPRS scores could have biological significance. The role of the serotonin system in the pathogenesis of parkinsonism remains obscure. Some evidence suggests that brain serotonergic function declines with advancing parkinsonism, possibly as a compensatory response. In this case, precursor administration might be expected to have a deleterious effect. Bryant's suggestion of possible differential effects of tryptophan on BPRS and nightmare scores may also be of interest, although the insufficiency of available data hardly invites much speculative comment. We agree that the use of tryptophan in the management of levodopa side effects should not be written off too hastily, even though our results scarcely encouraged a very optimistic view of its ultimate value.

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