6 January 2008

Research gets closer to Parkinson’s disease

Researchers discover important clue to the clue of Parkinson’s disease
Albert Einstein College of Medicine: 2 January 2007
A glitch in the mechanism by which cells recycle damaged components may trigger Parkinson’s disease, according to a study by scientists at the Albert Einstein College of Medicine of Yeshiva University. The research, which appears in the January 2 advance online issue of The Journal of Clinical Investigation, could lead to new strategies for treating Parkinson’s and other neurodegenerative diseases. …. > full story

Alzheimer's Australia Research Officer, Suzanne Dixon comments: Scientists believe they are closer to determining the cause of Parkinson's disease, as they reveal that an abnormality in a clean-up pathway may cause the symptoms of the disease. Individuals with Parkinson's disease have been shown to have problems removing damaged proteins from their cells. Now researchers believe that a natural process called autophagy, where abnormal proteins are broken down and recycled to keep older cells (including those in the brain) functioning healthily, can be impaired in Parkinson's patients. Repairing this renewal process may protect brain cells such as those that produce the neurotransmitter dopamine (normal levels of which are required to prevent onset of Parkinson's symptoms).

This could eventually lead to new treatment avenues that might be able to slow or prevent the effects of the disease (though not reverse them), and may also become relevant for Alzheimer's research. (26 January 2008)

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