Fight Against Migraine Symposium 2018
In August 2018, Girish Nair was invited to speak at the Fight Against Migraines conference held in Melbourne. He is pictured here with Dr David Dodick, a world leader in the field of headache and migraine.
Former AFL player, Mark Mikan was diagnosed with Parkinsons disease in 2016. Until recently, he experienced debilitating tremors in his hands and feet. His symptoms have been greatly reduced since undergoing brain surgery. Find out about the operation using the latest in deep brain stimulation technology.
A new surgical technique lead by neurosurgeon Girish Nair is having a remarkable impact on the symptoms of Parkinsons disease. The new and improved deep brain stimulation therapy uses 3D printed equipment that is fitted to the patients head. This results in a faster, more accurate and ultimately less intimidating operation for the patient. Previously any patient undergoing deep brain stimulation would be secured to an operating table with a cumbersome head frame. They were often kept awake for the operation which lasted many hours making the treatment almost intolerable.
In a world first, stem cells have been injected into the brain of a Parkinsons disease sufferer as part of an experimental treatment in Melbourne.
Interviewees: Mr Girish Nair, Neurosurgeon & Dr Andrew Evans, Neurologist
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If I Am Unhappy With My Treatment Can I Seek A Second Opinion
Each country has its own agreed process to follow if you are unhappy with your treatment. Who you complain to will depend on which part of your treatment you are unhappy with. If it is not your own doctor you are unhappy with, then it is usually a good idea to talk to them first.
If you are unhappy with your own doctor you may find it helpful to contact a patient advice service or patient liaison organisation. The Parkinsons association in your country should be able to provide contacts and advice this website contains the contact details for Our members and Other Parkinsons organisations.
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Foods High In Saturated Fat
The role that foods high in saturated fats play in Parkinsons progression is still under investigation and is often conflicting. We might eventually discover that there are certain types of saturated fats that actually help people with Parkinsons.
But in general, foods that have been fried or heavily processed alter your metabolism, increase blood pressure, and impact your cholesterol. None of those things are good for your body, especially if youre trying to treat Parkinsons.
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Changing The Course Of Parkinson’s
As a world-leading Parkinson’s research supporter since 1957, trailblazing discoveries aimed at easing, curing and preventing the disease drive us forward. While the cause of Parkinson’s is still unknown, through a history of strategic research investments of more than $400 million, we steer transformative progress to help uncover the mystery of this disease.
Parkinsons Foundation research funding has led to breakthroughs, including:
- The discovery of alpha-synuclein the first gene associated with Parkinson’s.
- The first standard tools to measure Parkinson’s progression the Hoehn and Yahr scale.
- Publishing the first double-blind clinical trial of carbidopa/levodopa in collaboration with Merck, Inc.
- Developing the Unified Parkinson’s Disease Rating Scale, now widely used in PD research and clinical trials.
The PD community continues to fuel the Foundation’s growth. Support of the Reach Further initiative helps us boost investments in leading-edge PD research and allows us to build on 60 years of funding pioneering scientific progress, a legacy that includes:
- Our work to uncover the origins of Parkinsons using the power of genetics through the groundbreaking, PD GENEration: Mapping the Future of Parkinsons Disease initiative.
- The Parkinson’s Foundation landmark Parkinsons Outcomes Project a nearly 15,000 participant-strong study of people across five countries who live with PD that has led to best care practices and accelerating PD research.
Sidebar: Advances In Circuitry Research
The brain contains numerous connections among neurons known as neural circuits.
Research on such connections and networks within the brain have advanced rapidly in the past few years. A wide spectrum of tools and techniques can now map connections between neural circuits. Using animal models, scientists have shown how circuits in the brain can be turned on and off. For example, researchers can see correlations between the firing patterns of neurons in a zebrafishs brain and precise behavioral responses such as seeking and capturing food.
Potential opportunities to influence the brains circuitry are starting to emerge. Optogenetics is an experimental technique that involves the delivery of light-sensitive proteins to specific populations of brain cells. Once in place, these light-sensitive proteins can be inhibited or stimulated by exposure to light delivered via fiber optics. Optogenetics has never been used in people, however the success of the approach in animal models demonstrates a proof of principal: A neural network can be precisely targeted.
Thanks in part to the BRAIN Initiative, research on neural circuitry is gaining momentum. The Brain Research through Advancing Innovative Neurotechnologies Initiative is accelerating the development and application of new technologies that enable researchers to produce dynamic pictures of the brain that show how individual brain cells and complex neural circuits interact at the speed of thought.
NIH Publication No. 15-5595
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Aiming For Timely Diagnosis
As with many chronic conditions, earlier recognition of Parkinsons disease can help people experience an enhanced quality of life.
2016 statistics reflect that around 6.1 million people worldwide had Parkinsons, more than double than in 1990. However, this increase doesnt necessarily mean that Parkinsons disease is more common now.
The rise could be the result of increasing awareness of the disease, causing more people to contact a doctor about potential symptoms. The global population is , meaning more adults are in the at-risk age category for Parkinsons disease.
A of research findings suggests a timely diagnosis of Parkinsons disease can provide the following benefits, among others:
- support your right to know about the disease as soon as possible
- enable you to take an active role in your health and well-being surrounding disease management and treatment options
- allow you to engage with ongoing research into Parkinsons disease
- help you understand that the symptoms of Parkinsons arent just part of aging but a specific health condition
Parkinsons disease may be driven in part by cell stress-related biochemical events that disrupt a key cellular cleanup system, leading to the spread of harmful protein aggregates in the brain, according to a new study from scientists at Scripps Research.
Brain Training App Useful In Early Parkinsons Cases: Pilot Study
The cognitive exercise smartphone app NeuroNation, which combines personalized tasks and gamification, is useful and feasible for adults with mild Parkinsons disease, a pilot study concluded. The researchers noted the app was a success in terms of the patients perception of its usability and in achieving cognitive improvements,
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Parkinsons Disease Affects 10 Million Worldwide
Parkinsons disease is a neurological disorder that causes uncontrollable or unintended movements, stiffness and difficulties with balance and coordination in more than 10 million patients worldwide. Common treatments include medications to treat the symptoms of Parkinsons disease, but there is no known cure for the condition.
A study published by the Journal of Parkinsons Disease in 2020 determined that nearly 10% of Parkinsons patients in Germany, where cannabis has been approved as a treatment for the condition since 2017, use cannabis to treat their symptoms. But with an almost inexhaustible variety of marijuana strains and other cannabis products available from both licensed and illicit sources, choosing a formulation that will consistently provide relief can be challenging.
There are over a trillion possible combinations of cannabinoids and terpenes that could be derived from the cannabis plant, but only a handful are the optimal combination to treat Parkinsons, said Lecht. Our mission is to discover the correct combination, and to identify the precise ratio so all active ingredients interact in the right way with each other. We can then leverage our Unlokt technology to make a product that will deliver the precise combination of cannabinoids and terpenes to patients quickly, safely and effectively.
Why Scientists Believe Theyve Made New Breakthrough In Parkinsons Disease Treatment By Building On Gdnf Research
The Finnish researchers are now working to improve the properties of BT13 to make it more effective as a potential treatment that could benefit many people living with the disease.
The study, which was published online yesterday in the journal Movement Disorders, builds on previous research on another molecule that targets the same receptors in the brain.
GDNF or glial cell line-derived neurotrophic factor is an experimental treatment for Parkinsons discovered in 1993 that has been shown to bring dying brain cells back to life and particularly effective in dopamine neurons.
It was the subject of a BBC documentary in February 2019 that followed a phase two trial in Bristol involving 42 patients. While the results werent clear cut, GDNF has shown promise to restore damaged cells in people with Parkinsons.
However, the GDNF protein requires complex robot-assisted surgery to deliver the treatment to the brain because its a large molecule that cant cross the blood-brain barrier a protective wall that prevents some drugs from getting into the brain.
BT13 is a smaller molecule that is able to cross the blood-brain barrier and therefore could be more easily administered as a treatment if shown to be beneficial in further clinical trials.
Dr Yulia Sidorova, lead researcher on the study, said: We are constantly working on improving the effectiveness of BT13.
Our ultimate goal is to progress these compounds to clinical trials in a few coming years.
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Alternative Treatment For Parkinsons
We have gained expertise in understanding various facets of Parkinsons disease, and the underlying mechanism involved. With increased understanding, more and more therapies are being developed that can mitigate symptomatic challenges associated with Parkinson’s. We design a personalized treatment plan to offer for your Parkinson’s, depending upon symptoms, age of indication, and other co-morbidities some of these therapies are:
Older Age Low Physical Activity Linked With Faster Motor Decline
An older age at diagnosis, but also reduced physical activity due to medical or social conditions, were significantly linked with faster motor decline in people with Parkinsons disease, a Japanese study has found. According to its authors, maintaining daily physical activity and allowing patients to move freely is paramount
Parkinsons Protein Blueprint Could Help Fast
Researchers have solved a decade-long mystery about a critical protein linked to Parkinsons disease that could help to fast-track treatments for the incurable disease.
The research, published in Nature, has for the first time produced a live action view of the protein, called PINK1, in exquisite molecular detail.
The discovery explains how the protein is activated in the cell, where it is responsible for initiating the removal and replacement of damaged mitochondria. When the protein is not working correctly, it can starve brain cells of energy, causing them to malfunction and in the long term die, as happens to dopamine-producing cells in Parkinsons disease.
The discovery is the culmination of a project spanning eight years and provides the first detailed blueprint for the discovery and development of therapeutic agents that could help to slow or even stop the progression of Parkinsons disease.
Led by PhD student Mr Zhong Yan Gan and Professor David Komander, the multidisciplinary team at WEHI used innovative cryo-electron microscopy facilities and research to make the discovery.
Exploring Seven Recently Approved Parkinsons Treatments
Remarkably, in the last five years, seven new medications have been approved for the treatment of the motor symptoms of Parkinsons disease , with two approved in 2020. Thats exciting progress! And while it is great to have so many choices, the various options can be confusing so today I will describe these new medications and their uses.
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Massive Pacemaker Cells Produced In Parkinson’s Breakthrough
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A new study led by a researcher in the Jacobs School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences at the University at Buffalo has important implications for developing future treatments for Parkinsons disease , a progressive nervous system disorder that affects movement and often includes tremors.
In this study, we find a method to differentiate human induced pluripotent stem cells to A9 dopamine neurons , which are lost in Parkinsons disease, says Jian Feng, PhD, professor of physiology and biophysics in the Jacobs School and the senior author on the paper published May 24 in Molecular Psychiatry.
These neurons are pacemakers that continuously fire action potentials regardless of excitatory inputs from other neurons, he adds. Their pacemaking property is very important to their function and underlies their vulnerability in Parkinsons disease.
Patients Depression Often Carries Over To Care Partners
More disability and higher levels of depression in Parkinsons disease patients predicted an increase in burden and depression of their care partners, such as family and friends, over two years, a study concluded. The findings underscore the need to monitor the burden of care partners over time. Treatment targeting disease severity,
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The Key Is The Activation Of Ppn Neurons
In Parkinsons Disease, nerve cells that produce dopamine progressively die. Since the 1960s, doctors have relied on medication to replace the missing dopamine, but it is notoriously difficult to fully control symptoms as the disease progresses.
In many people the movement symptoms do not respond well to medical treatment in the later stages of this disease, so there has been done a lot of research into alternative treatments, including a search for optimal targets for deep brain stimulation, explains Postdoc Debora Masini, first author of the new study, which included several different strategies to substantiate their findings.
When we stimulated these specific neurons in the caudal area of the PPN, the animals were able to walk normally, across longer distances and with normal walking speed, as opposed to before the stimulation, where they would display symptoms of Parkinsons Disease, says Debora Masini.
We systematically compared stimulation of different locations and cell types in a series of complementary experiments. And they all pointed towards the same conclusion. It strongly indicates these excitatory neurons in the caudal PPN are an ideal target for recovery of movement loss, she says.
The researchers hope that the new study could aid clinicians when they pick the exact location for DBS in the brainstem.
Parkinsons Disease: Major Drug Trial Results To Watch In 2022
Four clinical trials in Parkinsons disease with readouts the second half of 2022 target motor symptom fluctuations and cognitive impairment.
In a slate of major Parkinsons disease trial readouts, drug developers are taking aim at the diseases most common symptom: motor fluctuations.
Around 80% of people with PD have some motor symptom fluctuations, says Dr Jeffrey Kordower, founding director of Arizona State University s Banner Neurodegenerative Disease Research Center. The rationale behind going after these symptoms is really strong.
Four major trials have readouts expected in the next six months, three of which target motor symptoms, also known as dyskinesia. Two trials focus on dyskinesia resulting from sustained use of generic levodopa, which is widely considered the standard of care in PD. A third study tests a new formulation of levodopa that could reduce treatment side effects such as dyskinesia, while a fourth trial takes aim at cognitive impairment in PD.
Parkinsons disease is a progressive central nervous system disease associated with deficiencies in the neurotransmitter dopamine. There are no disease-altering treatments available, but levodopa can increase dopamine levels in the brain and reduce symptoms.
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Irlab Celon Target Parkinsons Disease Motor Symptoms
While levodopa can reduce PD symptoms by increasing dopamine levels in the brain, prolonged use can cause increased bouts of dyskinesia during OFF time when the drug has reduced effects. IRLAB Therapeutics and Celon Pharma have Phase II trials aiming to reduce levodopa-induced dyskinesia using two different approaches.
IRLABs mesdopetam, which targets the dopamine D3 receptor, has placebo-controlled Phase II trial results expected the second half of this year. Mesdopetam has estimated peak sales of $226 million in 2026, according to GlobalDatas consensus forecast. GlobalData is the parent company of Clinical Trials Arena.
As a primary endpoint, the Phase II mesdopetam trial assesses change in ON time, defined as hours in the day where patients experience the positive effects of levodopa without the negative effects of dyskinesia. Before and after 12 weeks of treatment, patients record their hours of ON time over the course of 24 hours.
Meanwhile, Celon s CPL500036, which targets phosphodiesterase 10A , also has placebo-controlled Phase II results expected this year. The four-week study uses a primary endpoint of the Unified Dyskinesia Rating Scale , which measures the severity of dyskinesia side effects.
Of the two primary endpoints, change in ON time is a better measure than the UDyRS, Kordower says. My understanding is that patients would much rather have less time spent in dyskinesias than decreased magnitude of dyskinesia, he explains.