The Conclusive Scientific Studies.
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Deprenyl (Selegiline), drug used as an adjunct in the therapy of Parkinson's disease due to its anti-neurodegenerative properties is biochemically defined as a selective monoamine oxidase type B (MAO B) inhibitor, Deprenyl was originally developed as an antidepressant agent. To date Deprenyl has only been medically approved by regulatory agencies for use on treatment of Parkinson's disease. However recent testing has indicated that Deprenyl may have some effect on increasing sexual response in aging animals, an observed retardation of normal age dependent deterioration of renal function and of cognitive abilities, including spatial learning ability1,2.
We know the physiological working of the brain structure is carried out by neurotransmitters. Among these neurotransmitters there is a specific chemical substance called dopamine. It is the lack of dopamine or at least the premature degradation of dopamine, which results in the symptoms we describe as Parkinson's disease.
Dopamine is an essential chemical that occurs in many parts of the body. But its highest concentration is in the region of the brain called the basal ganglia, a mass of gray matter in the basement of the brain that is important in the programming of bodily movement.
The basal ganglia includes a striped organ called the "corpus striatum" and another "nucleus" called the "substantia nigra". The cells of the "substantia nigra", called dopaminergic cells, produce dopamine and -neuron to neuron- dopamine works its way trough out the motor pathways of the brain. One of these pathways, leading to the "corpus striatum", is thought to be particularly vulnerable to the damage that leads to Parkinson's disease. The main physiological role of dopamine in the striatum is the continuous inhibition of the release of acetylcholine from the cholinergic interneurons of the caudate nucleus, regarding the physiological significance of this function, one aspect, its rate-limiting role in the control of motor functions, its firmly established by now4.
Dopamine acts as a messenger. If we were to isolate two dopaminergic neurons, the first would comunicate with the second by emitting dopamine to build a humoral bridge to the second. Some of the dopamine thus released would be absorbed by the receiving neuron; some would be lost during the journey (a result of metabolism); and some would be recovered by the sending neuron. The last process of recovery is called "re-uptake".
This system of synthesis, use and inactivation is necessary to maintain just the correct amount of dopamine in the right balance with other chemicals. Too much dopamine, or too little, and the brain cannot function optimally. However dopamine is absorbed, metabolized or excreted, it is essential to the continued efficiency of the body. It is a life giving or biogenic chemical.
One of the characteristic changes in the body as we age is that the volume of essential chemicals is reduced. Dopamine degrades more quickly than most. Dopaminergic cells, concentrated in the region of the "substantia nigra", are the fastest aging cells in the body. As dopaminergic cells decay, control over movement is diminished.
The average person starts to lose dopamine at about age 35, and thereafter the normal supply of this chemical transmitter diminishes by about 13 percent each decade.
Therefore, if a lack of dopamine is the cause of Parkinson's disease, then replacement of the dopamine might possibly remove or relieve the symptoms of the disease.
Dopamine plays an important role in those parts of the brain that are known to control motor function. In addition dopamine also travels to other parts of the brain to the limbic system, which affects emotions, and to the cortex, where it may affect memory, intellect and personality. We know that this highly branched dopaminergic system may be the source of our active reflexes, our inner drives, and Deprenyl because it protects the section of the brain that produces dopamine, may have a protective effect on the decay of the brain.