Nicotine may ease the often-debilitating symptoms of Parkinson's disease, according to a study released Wednesday.

Monkeys given a nicotine-laced drink before drug treatment for Parkinson's showed a 50 percent reduction in movements associated with the treatment, according to researchers from the Parkinson's Institute and Clinical Center in Sunnyvale, California. The animals showed a 35 percent drop in the uncontrollable movements, known as dyskinesias, when given the drink after treatments.

The findings will be published in the Annals of Neurology.

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Parkinson's disease, which affects more than one million patients in the United States, is marked by the death of brain cells that produce dopamine.