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Tuberculosis Drugs Are Useful In Treating Manganese Intoxication

Scientists have discovered that the drugs used in treating tuberculosis are effective on Parkinson's like illness, caused by intoxication with manganese.

Manganese replaced lead years ago in industrial applications and so, people could easily develop manganese intoxication, a neuro-degeneration disease.

Those who get such intoxication develop similar symptoms to Parkinson's disease, like: hand tremors, loss of coordination, and inability to show face expressions, said Wei Zheng, a professor and University Faculty Scholar in Purdue's School of Health Sciences.

Manganese is used in producing steel alloys, vehicles, tanks and ships, and as a coating on welding rods. In US, there are at least 430,000 people who are working in this industry and are highly exposed to manganese intoxication.

The drugs used in treating Parkinson's disease are not useful in this case. So far, the EDTA has been used in helping intoxicated people to eliminate manganese in the urine, but it is not highly effective because it does not get in the brain tissue to clean it up too.

During a study made on 80 intoxicated subjects, that lasted 17 years, scientists discovered that a drug used in treating tuberculosis is very useful in treating this intoxication too. The Sodium para-aminosalicylic acid (PAS) highly reduces symptoms on a long term basis, and can also cross the blood brain barrier because it is fat-soluble, or lipophilic, to clean the brain tissue of manganese.

The researchers are: Yue-Ming Jiang, Xue-An Mo, Feng-Qi Du, Xue Fu and Xia-Yan Zhu, from Guangxi Medical University in China; Hong-Yu Gao and Feng-Ling Liao, from Wuzhou Center for Disease Prevention and Control in China; Jin-Lan Xie from the Wuzhou Worker's Hospital in China; Enrico Pira from the University of Turin in Italy; and Zheng.

Because China is most affected of this disease, due to its developed industry that provides one-third of the world's supply of steel alloys that is why the study was performed there.

Scientists believe that the drug contains "chelating arms" that take manganese, and that is why the symptoms of the illness are reversed. PAS also has anti-inflammatory properties, like aspirin does.