Monday, March 4, 2024

The Science Of Parkinson’s

For Too Long People With Parkinsons Disease Have Suffered Without A Meaningful Therapy To Treat Its Underlying Cause

The Science and Heart of Caring for Someone with Parkinsons Disease

With rapid advances in areas like genomics, single-cell technologies, and data analytics, were at a tipping point to better understand this devastating disease but we cant do it alone.

ASAP builds on the significant strides made by the research community, funders, other experts and strategists around the world. With input across sectors and disciplines, weve developed a strategic roadmap to collectively tackle field-wide challenges together.

Developing New Therapies To Alleviate Symptoms

Identifying the deficits in brain function that are happening early in Parkinsons disease should help us develop assays that will lead to earlier clinical diagnosis. Earlier clinical diagnosis will maximize the impact of disease-modifying therapies. There currently are none that are proven to work in later stage Parkinsons disease, said D. James Surmeier.

By aligning alterations in brain activity with behavior as the parkinsonian state evolves, we can determine the roles played by specific circuits in the symptoms of the disease. We also can discern causality. This will allow the development of new targeted therapies for alleviating symptoms.

For example, in late-stage Parkinsons patients, the standard symptomatic therapy, levodopa, stops being effective because there are too few cells left to convert it to dopamine. These patients have few options at this point. A recent gene therapy trial attempting to elevate expression of the enzyme necessary to convert levodopa to dopamine in the striatum failed apparently because this region was simply too big.

Study of our new mouse model revealed the loss of dopamine release in the substantia nigra itself was critical to the emergence of motor symptoms. The substantia nigra is much smaller than the striatum and much easier to cover with a gene therapy.

Summary: The Main Takeaways

The amount of research being conducted is a very positive sign, and it suggests that 2022 will be an extremely productive year for Parkinsons research. The breadth of approaches now being applied to Parkinsons is also very encouraging, and in the next few years we may have answers to some fundamental questions regarding the biology that may be underlying many cases of PD .

There is certainly going to be a lot of clinical trial results being announced in 2022! The top 5 clinical trial results that I will be looking out for this year are:

  • The Phase II UP study results evaluating UDCA in Parkinsons
  • The Phase II Lixisenatide study results more data on GLP-1R agonists in PD
  • The Phase II Liraglutide study results even more data on GLP-1R agonists in PD
  • The Phase II Peptron study results lots of data on GLP-1R agonists in 2022
  • The Phase II Deferiprone study results addressing an important question

And with bulging pockets, we can expect more acquisitions and partnering deals to come in 2022. Any fears that big pharma companies are quitting neurodegeneration appear to be misplaced with aging demographics in the Western world, the market opportunities are simply too big for these enormous companies to ignore.

All of this collective activity provides encouraging signs for future research focused on finding new therapies for slowing, stopping and reversing Parkinsons.

But now its time to give the fingers a wee rest.

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Science News & Progress

Science is rapidly advancing the Parkinsons Foundations mission to identify and address the unmet needs of people with Parkinsons disease . Learn about the latest scientific breakthroughs on the PD front including innovative research, new medications and care advances.

  • As leaders in advancing Parkinsons research toward a cure, the Parkinsons Foundation actively monitors scientific studies and breakthroughs around the world. Discover whats happening in Science News.
  • Explore the latest PD research in the Parkinson Foundations new scientific journal npj Parkinsons our joint collaboration with Nature Publishing Group.

How To Exercise To Improve Parkinsons Symptoms: The Science Behind Parkinsons Exercise

Emerging Science for the Treatment of Parkinsons Disease

Reviewed by Dr. Jay Alberts, Vice-Chair of Innovations within the Neurological Institute, holder of the Bell Family Endowed Chair, and staff in the Department of Biomedical Engineering of The Cleveland Clinic.

Exercise can profoundly change the lives of those living with neurological diseases. Even so, joining a Parkinsons/neuro exercise program can be dauntingthere is a real fear of the unknown that keeps many from realizing the meaningful benefits that could otherwise enhance their lives. I have worked with countless students over the years and have seen how exercise enables them to do things they didnt know were possible.

Id like you to meet a few of my students:

I had everything to win if exercise worked and little to lose if it didnt!~ Jane

My new student, Joe, came to his first neuro cycle class after his wife, Kelly, told him about the Neuro Wellness Program. He was diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis four years ago and came to class walking with a cane. He quickly became the life of the party, making the class laugh and smile with his amazing sense of humor. He also works extremely hard in classcycling three times each week and participating in DTD class twice weekly. Four months after beginning these classes, he no longer needs his cane.

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Symptoms Resulting From Parkinsons Affecting How Different Brain Areas Work

Parkinsons isnt just restricted to areas of the brain involved in movement. The condition also affects higher brain areas, altering how the brain receives and processes messages around thinking, perception, learning and memory. Disruption of these processes can lead to symptoms including problems concentrating and Parkinsons dementia.

And recent research suggests memory changes that some people experience in Parkinsons could be due to altered electrical activity in the brain that contribute to the making and storing of memories. You can read the full scientific paper here.

Parkinson’s Alzheimer’s And The New Science Of Hope

Now a global epidemic, Alzheimers disease already plagues nearly six million Americans and 50 million people worldwide.

Parkinsons disease, the minute various frequent neurodegenerative interference, afflicts virtually one and only million groups of people inside the United States as well as because immeasurable since 10 million men worldwide .

Is superior attention actually the resolution? We are enlightened that there are no fine healing as these scourges as well as that the danger things are subjects we cant do whatsoever about: how old we are , our relatives past, also which genes we take place to possess . Gloom as well as helplessness unavoidably happen, for we hang around passively to imagine who will engagement upset then.

Inside certain cases , these maladies are consideration sporadic as well as idiopathic . Jiffy there remains giant anxiety close to underlying causes , both of these diagnoses aspect telltale microscopic abnormalities that product attractive targets for the reason that pharmaceutical-minded researchers .

the case of Alzheimers malady, familiar remedy targets undergo included its hot beta-amyloid plaques plus neurofibrillary tangles .

Regrettably, numerous distressed dollars pass through fueled eras of chic treatment study, acquiring aim at these furthermore variant chances culprits , leading to exactly zilch drugs in addition to the potential to class any meaningful variance inside the route of these conditions as a result far-off.

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Learn More About Parkinsons Disease

Parkinsons Disease: The Essentials

If youre new to Parkinsons disease and would like a good overview to help you better understand the disease, please view our Parkinsons Disease: The Essentials presentation. Its a great place to get started with reliable and concise information.


The exact cause of Parkinsons is still unknown, but there is an enormous amount of research being done to learn more. This research has led scientists to formulate a number of theories on the cause of this disease.


While there is no definitive test that can be taken to determine whether a person has Parkinsons disease, movement disorder specialists look for symptoms and use brain imaging technology to accurately diagnose Parkinsons.


Even though Parkinsons is classified as a movement disorderand its motor symptoms are the most discussed and well-knownthere are many non-motor symptoms that display in people with Parkinsons as well.


As of today, there is no cure for Parkinsons disease. But there are many ways in which the disease can be treated to make symptoms more manageable.

Living With Parkinsons

Join The Pd Generation Today

Science of Parkinson’s

PD GENEration is an initiative that offers genetic testing and genetic counseling at no cost for people with Parkinsons disease.

*Please note that not all content is available in both languages. If you are interested in receiving Spanish communications, we recommend selecting both” to stay best informed on the Foundation’s work and the latest in PD news.

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Why Does Parkinsons Cause Non

In Parkinsons, brain cells that produce important neurotransmitters, such as dopamine, are gradually lost over time. The main area of the brain that is affected is the substantia nigra a region of the brain that helps control movement. But researchers now know that Parkinsons is much more complex than this. Changes have been found in areas of the brain stem involved in controlling things such as sleep, and in the frontal part of our brain responsible for things like planning and memory. This could explain why there is such a range of symptoms.

Another explanation for the range of symptoms hinges on the role of neurotransmitters in the brain. They have a vital role in controlling both physical and mental health. In Parkinsons, levels of these chemicals are altered causing a range of symptoms.

While changes in dopamine account for many of the motor symptoms of Parkinsons, changes in other neurotransmitters like serotonin may play more of a role in symptoms such as sleep problems, fatigue and depression. And acetylcholine, another neurotransmitter impacted in the condition, is involved in thinking and memory.

Because symptoms can be due to changes in both dopamine and, or, other signalling molecules, medication that is currently used to replace the lost dopamine in Parkinsons often doesnt help with the management of all non-motor symptoms.

Short Summary Of This Blog

  • Parkinsons causes both motor and non-motor symptoms, but not everyone will experience all the possible symptoms of the condition.
  • As Parkinsons progresses it can affect various parts of the brain involved in sleep, anxiety, memory and thinking.
  • The condition also disrupts multiple chemical signals inside the brain, which could be the cause of numerous non-motor symptoms such as depression and apathy.
  • With increasing emphasis of the impact non-motor symptoms have on day-to-day life, more research is being done to understand the causes of non-motor symptoms and to develop much needed treatments.

When most people think of Parkinsons they probably think of common movement symptoms, such as tremor, stiffness or slowness of movement. But we now know that there is a wide range of symptoms that are associated with Parkinsons and many do not affect movement.

The non-motor symptoms of Parkinsons can affect many different parts of the body, from anxiety and trouble with memory, to bladder problems and constipation. They have a huge impact on quality of life, and people affected by Parkinsons often mark them as a high priority for research.

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Exercise Is Your New Job

My message to people with neurological diseases is that exercise is your new job. For the benefit of caregivers and those living around us, the best thing that anyone living with Parkinsons can do is work to reduce their own symptoms. That requires commitment. Find a program or class nearby and go watch. See what its all about. Try everything.

Many people Ive worked with didnt think they would like boxing and now find they LOVE itthe same for cycling. Start gradually, work up to recommended levels and intensities and rely on a group of students to motivate and support you.

My student Linda was a caregiver to her husband with Parkinsons for over 20 years and then was diagnosed with Parkinsons herself. Even so, she is the one who will rally the troops. Im not going to let Parkinsons beat me, and exercise is the only way I can do it. There arent any medications yet that are going to cure it, so lets just exercise!

About The Author Kris Meldrum

Parkinsons Disease Researchers To Study Brain Circuits Driving Symptoms


Northwestern University scientists have received two awards for Parkinsons disease research from the ASAP Collaborative Research Network, a program of the Aligning Science Across Parkinsons initiative implemented with partner The Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinsons Research.

ASAP supports multidisciplinary, multi-institutional research teams to address key knowledge gaps in the basic circuit mechanisms that contribute to the development and progression of Parkinsons disease.

A team led by D. James Surmeier, the Nathan Smith Davis Professor and chair of neuroscience at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine, received a $9 million award over three years. He and his collaborators will investigate how the dysfunction of brain circuits begins and then evolves to cause difficulty in moving and sleeping. This will allow earlier diagnosis of Parkinsons disease and increase the chances of stopping and better treating the disease with pharmacological and genetic therapies once it appears.

His project is titled Distributed circuit dysfunction underlying motor and sleep deficits in a progressive mouse model of Parkinsons disease. Surmeier, the principal investigator, will collaborate with Ann Kennedy from Northwestern Rui Costa at Columbia University Yang Dan at University of California, Berkeley Silvia Arber at University of Basel and Jun Ding at Stanford University.

Northwestern scientists discuss their research projects for these awards:

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Scientists Uncover New Targets For Treating Parkinsons Disease

LJI study suggests therapies could stop T cells from attacking brain cells in Parkinson’s

LA JOLLA, CAScientists at La Jolla Institute for Immunology have found that people with Parkinsons disease have a clear genetic signature of the disease in their memory T cells. The scientists hope that targeting these genes may open the door to new Parkinsons treatments and diagnostics.

Parkinsons disease is not usually seen as an autoimmune disease, says LJI Research Assistant Professor Cecilia Lindestam Arlehamn, Ph.D.But all of our work points toward T cells having a role in the disease.

Now that we can see what these T cells are doing, we think intervening with antibody therapies could have an impact on the disease progression, especially early on, adds LJI Professor Alessandro Sette, Dr.Biol.Sci., who led the work with Lindestam Arlehamn.

This study was published recently in the journal npj Parkinsons Disease.

A shifting view of Parkinsons

Parkinsons progresses as dopamine-producing neurons in the brain die. Unfortunately, scientists have been unable to pinpoint what causes this cell deaththough they do have a clue: The doomed neurons contain clumps of a damaged protein called alpha-synuclein.

LJI research suggests these clumps may be the kiss of death for dopamine-producing neurons. Sette and Lindestam Arlehamn recently showed that people with Parkinsons have T cells that target alpha-synuclein early on in Parkinsons disease.

About La Jolla Institute

What Happens To The Brain During Exercise

What is happening in the brain during exercise? A Neuro Cycle Class, a Pedaling for Parkinsons class, an RSB class, and a DTD class are designed to help the brain rewire for change. During aerobic exercise at higher intensity levels, muscles contract and release a hormone called Irisin. Irisin is called the exercise hormone , releasing into the brain a protein called Brain-Derived Neurotrophic Factor . The presence of this protein is key to maintaining neurons and creating new ones . And what this means for those living with Parkinsons is life-changing results.

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Problem #1 Mitochondrial Dysfunction

A flurry of emergent research has linked mitochondrial dysfunction to the pathogenesis of Parkinsons disease. Mitochondrial dysfunction results in impaired ATP generation, loss of cellular repair mechanisms, and cellular inefficiency.

As mitochondria become dysfunctional they generate large quantities of free radicals, which contribute to oxidative stress that, in turn, causes further mitochondrial dysfunction. Concurrently, loss of mitochondria to oxidative damage means fewer mitochondria are available to meet the energy demands of the cell to repair damaged components. The cascade of mitochondrial dysfunction, oxidative stress, and loss of mitochondria form a continuity that ultimately leads to cell death .

Numerous studies have clearly identified mitochondrial dysfunction as a central pathological feature of both genetic and sporadic Parkinsons disease . Moreover, many of the genes that confer predisposition to familial Parkinsons are intimately related to mitochondrial function much of the neuronal death in Parkinsons of genetic origin is due to mitochondrial dysfunction, and impaired mitophagy . While several factors, including exposure to environmental toxins , also contribute to mitochondrial dysfunction in the substantia nigra, age-related mutations in mitochondrial DNA are thought to be a primary culprit . Alarmingly, dopamine itself, and L-DOPA, may contribute to mitochondrial toxicity in dopaminergic neurons .

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The Science of Intense Exercise | The Victory Summit® Parkinson’s Support Symposium
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    The Ingredients In Restore Gold

    There are no shortage of problems in the substantia nigra for those with Parkinsons. For decades, Parkinsons research experts have searched in vain for a magical natural or drug compound to address all issues in the Parkinsons patient with no practical success. However, in doing so, many compounds have been discovered that have found support for possibly addressing either mitochondrial dysfunction, alpha-synuclein aggregation, neural inflammation, or neural oxidation.

    Researchers have known about many of these compounds for years, but for the first time certain compounds have been hand picked to be compounded together in one convenient capsule, called Restore Gold.

    Following each ingredient, you can follow the links to the scientific journals that contain Parkinsons disease related research.


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