Monday, April 8, 2024

What’s New In Parkinson’s Research

Key Programs And Resources

New Frontiers in Parkinson’s Disease Research and Care

The Parkinsons Disease Biomarkers Programs , a major NINDS initiative, is aimed at discovering ways to identify individuals at risk for developing PD and Lewy Body Dementia and to track the progression of the disease. It funds research and collects human biological samples and clinical data to identify biomarkers that will speed the development of novel therapeutics for PD. Goals are improving clinical trials and earlier diagnosis and treatment. Projects are actively recruiting volunteers at sites across the U.S. NINDS also collaborates with the Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinsons Research on BioFIND, a project collecting biological samples and clinical data from healthy volunteers and those with PD. For more information about the PDBP and how you can get involved, please visit the PDBP website.

The NINDS Morris K. Udall Centers of Excellence for Parkinsons Disease Research program supports research centers across the country that work collaboratively to study PD disease mechanisms, the genetic contributions to PD, and potential therapeutic targets and treatment strategies.

The NINDS Intramural Research Program conducts clinical studies to better understand PD mechanisms and develop novel and improve treatments.

The NINDS Biospecimens Repositories store and distribute DNA, cells, blood samples, cerebrospinal fluid, and autopsy tissue to PD researchers around the world.

Keen Sense Of Smell Leads To First Test For Parkinsons

Earlier diagnosis of Parkinsons before physical symptoms appear is becoming a reality, with latest clinical trials looking at smell as a possible indicator of Parkinsons.

Please click here to read article published in leapsmag:

Mapping The Future Of Parkinson’s Disease

PD GENEration: Mapping the Future of Parkinsons Disease is a Parkinsons Foundation initiative that offers genetic testing and genetic counseling at no cost for people with Parkinsons disease . When you participate, you can help scientists in their journey to advance understanding of PD, leading to new, more effective PD therapies.

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Study: Nsaids Seem To Have No Effect On Parkinsons Incidence

The use of non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs seems to have no effect on the incidence of Parkinsons disease, according to a large retrospective Norwegian study. Researchers focused on the NSAIDs prescribed most in Norway: diclofenac, ibuprofen, and naproxen. In the study NSAID use is not associated with Parkinsons

How Could Stem Cells Help People With Parkinson’s

Latest Research News from Parkinsons WA

Stem cells are the parent cells of all tissues in the body. This means they can turn into any type of cell. The hope is that they will eventually be able to make these cells into specific types of cells, like dopamine-producing neurons, that can be used to treat Parkinson’s disease. However, there are concerns that patients may have the same risk of increased involuntary movements as those who undergo fetal cell transplantation. And, like fetal cell transplantation, stem cell therapy is surrounded by moral and ethical controversy.

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Young Onset Parkinsons Research Results In Interesting Findings

Recent press coverage has highlighted some interesting outcomes from studies of stem cells derived from people diagnosed with Young Onset Parkinsons. This group is generally defined as those being diagnosed between the ages of 21 and 50.

The researchers at Cedars- Sinai Medical Centre , USA, generated special stem cells from blood taken from young onset people with Parkinsons who have no family history of the condition. The process of generating these stem cells involves taking the blood cells back in time to a primitive embryonic state before they could be transformed into dopamine neurons in the lab. The dopamine neurons were then observed to have two key abnormalities:

  • The protein associated with Parkinsons alpha- synuclein was seen to accumulate
  • Lysosomes or cell structures which act as clearance or trash cans for the cells to dispose of proteins were seen to malfunction- this could cause the alpha- synuclein to build up.

The researchers suggest that this is a sign that young onset Parkinsons is present from conception or as the popular press suggests starts in the womb.

In addition to this discovery the team at Cedars- Sinai are working on these iPSCs to test a number of drugs which may reverse the abnormalities they found. This is an exciting outcome to the study.

Launch Of A New Toolkit For Researchers

Weve developed an interactive communications toolkit to help researchers in all areas of health research to keep in touch with their participants. It is supported by the Health Research Authority as part of the Make It Public strategy.

Amelia Hursey, Research Participation Lead, at Parkinsons UK said: Participation in research, and the retention of volunteers, is essential for finding better treatments and cures for health conditions. Their contribution is invaluable to our work and we know from experience that they become as invested in the success and outcomes as the researchers. So, its vital that they are kept informed on the progress and arent made to feel that they have been forgotten. This new toolkit is relevant to all areas and aspects of health research, not just Parkinsons. Its pioneering in making research more transparent and maintaining a sense of continuity with participants.

Laurel Miller, who has Parkinsons and is a member of the steering group behind the toolkit, said:

Researchers should use this toolkit because people want to feel that their participation in research is valued, and that together we can work out how to live better lives whilst continuing the search for better treatments and a cure.

Naho Yamazaki, Head of Policy and Engagement at the Health Research Authority, said:

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Complementary And Supportive Therapies

A wide variety of complementary and supportive therapies may be used for PD, including:

A healthy diet. At this time there are no specific vitamins, minerals, or other nutrients that have any proven therapeutic value in PD. The National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke and other components of the National Institutes of Health are funding research to determine if caffeine, antioxidants, and other dietary factors may be beneficial for preventing or treating PD. A normal, healthy diet can promote overall well-being for people with PD just as it would for anyone else. Eating a fiber-rich diet and drinking plenty of fluids also can help alleviate constipation. A high protein diet, however, may limit levodopas absorption.

Exercise. Exercise can help people with PD improve their mobility, flexibility, and body strength. It also can improve well-being, balance, minimize gait problems, and strengthen certain muscles so that people can speak and swallow better. General physical activity, such as walking, gardening, swimming, calisthenics, and using exercise machines, can have other benefit. People with PD should always check with their doctors before beginning a new exercise program.

Alternative approaches that are used by some individuals with PD include:

What Is Fetal Cell Transplantation

New Frontiers in Parkinson’s Research and Care – Georgia

Fetal cell transplantation is a procedure in which fetal cells are implanted into the brains of people with Parkinson’s disease to replace the dopamine-producing cells in the substantia nigra. Although promising, this area of research is one of the most controversial. Some studies have found that fetal cell transplantation caused an increase in severe involuntary movements due to too much dopamine in the brain. There are also moral and ethical objections to the use of fetal cell implants. As a result, other methods of treatment are being explored.

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So What Happened During October 2021

In world news:

The International Consortium of Investigative Journalists and assorted media partners publish a set of 11.9 million documents leaked from 14 financial services companies known as the Pandora Papers, revealing offshore financial activities that involve multiple current and former world leaders and nothing happened.

TV scriptwriters Agustín Martínez, Jorge Díaz and Antonio Mercero shocked guests at the Planeta prize ceremony, when they took to the stage to collect the main 1m prize and reveal that the celebrated crime author, Carmen Mola, does not actually exist.

The Lucy spacecraft is launched by NASA, the first mission to explore the Trojan asteroids ” rel=”nofollow”> Click here to learn more about this).

The UK Health Security Agency announced the offshoot of COVID19-Delta, known as AY.4.2 was designated a variant under investigation. Preliminary evidence suggests that this subvariant could be 10-15 per cent more transmissible than the original Delta .

The month started badly for World leaders, and it finished much the same way. They began flying into Glasgow for COP26 to talk and do nothing about rising levels of atmospheric green house gases

In the world of Parkinsons research, a great deal of new research and news was reported:

Whats New In Research


Katherine McDonald, York University, right, with Julie Wysocki, Director, National Research Program, PSC

Parkinson Society Canada attends CPIN Day 2014 at University of Toronto

You are never too old to go back to school. Thats what Parkinson Society Canada discovered when it supported the 2014 Collaborative Program In Neuroscience Research Day and International Symposium on Synaptic Plasticity and Brain Disorders. The event, held at the Medical Sciences Building, University of Toronto as well as the Mount Sinai Hospital Auditorium, was like speed-dating. But instead of mini-dates with prospective partners, the conversations revolved around the more than 80 poster presentations from students in disciplines ranging from biochemistry to cell and system biology to psychology.

This year, the Symposium was held in honour of Professor John C. Roders contribution to science and education. The evening featured a tribute honouring the achievements of Dr. John Roder, and his career, in which he has devoted more than 25 years to investigating the molecular processes underlying synaptic regulation and mental disorders. He has made major contributions to the field of synaptic plasticity and brain function.

CPINs goal of fostering a strong and proactive collaborative neuroscience training program is well aligned with PSCs National Research Program mandate to build neuroscience research capacity. We look forward to the 2015 event.

Save the date:


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Scientists Have Made A Breakthrough In The Development Of A Nasal Spray For Parkinsons Disease Treatment

Researchers from the University of York have developed a new gel that can adhere to tissue inside the nose alongside the drug levodopa, helping deliver Parkinsons disease treatment directly to the brain.

Parkinsons disease is a condition in which parts of the brain become progressively damaged over many years. This leads to a reduction in dopamine in the brain, which plays a vital role in regulating the movement of the body. The main symptoms include involuntary shaking, slow movement, and stiff and inflexible muscles.

Get Your Aware In Care Kit


The Aware in Care kit includes tools and information that will help people with Parkinson’s and their families plan for the next hospital stay.

*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 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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What Causes The Disease

The precise cause of PD is unknown, although some cases of PD are hereditary and can be traced to specific genetic mutations. Most cases are sporadicthat is, the disease does not typically run in families. It is thought that PD likely results from a combination of genetics and exposure to one or more unknown environmental factors that trigger the disease.

The protein alpha-synuclein. The affected brain cells of people with PD contain Lewy bodiesdeposits of the protein alpha-synuclein. Researchers do not yet know why Lewy bodies form or what role they play in the disease. Some research suggests that the cells protein disposal system may fail in people with PD, causing proteins to build up to harmful levels and trigger cell death. Additional studies have found evidence that clumps of protein that develop inside brain cells of people with PD may contribute to the death of neurons.

Genetics. Several genetic mutations are associated with PD, including the alpha-synuclein gene, and many more genes have been tentatively linked to the disorder. The same genes and proteins that are altered in inherited cases may also be altered in sporadic cases by environmental toxins or other factors.

Environment. Exposure to certain toxins has caused parkinsonian symptoms in rare circumstances . Other still-unidentified environmental factors may also cause PD in genetically susceptible individuals.

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Drawing & Writing Helping Detect Parkinsons

Drawing and writing may be a new determiner in catching Parkinsons in its early stages with new technology able to spot the condition before any obvious symptoms appear. When many of the treatment options are beneficial if Parkinsons is detected early, this pioneering technology may well allow for early intervention, allowing for patients to receive treatment earlier than ever before.

The pioneering technology-refined from a previous version with an accuracy rate of 93% was developed by Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology and takes into consideration how Parkinsons impacts muscle control and activities, thereby affecting how patients write and draw.

A screening test involves patients using a drawing tablet to complete seven dexterity tasks, including drawing a spiral by joining dots, simple writing and writing with memory load. Patient tasks are then assessed which can be used to target specific aspects of their condition. The screening technology can also be used to monitor the effectiveness of patient medications and treatment.

Further patient trials are due to commence in both Australia and China in mid 2020 with the technology hopefully commercially available in two years.

What Are The Symptoms Of The Disease

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The four primary symptoms of PD are:

  • Tremor. Tremor often begins in a hand, although sometimes a foot or the jaw is affected first. The tremor associated with PD has a characteristic rhythmic back-and-forth motion that may involve the thumb and forefinger and appear as a pill rolling. It is most obvious when the hand is at rest or when a person is under stress. This tremor usually disappears during sleep or improves with a purposeful, intended movement.
  • Rigidity. Rigidity , or a resistance to movement, affects most people with PD. The muscles remain constantly tense and contracted so that the person aches or feels stiff. The rigidity becomes obvious when another person tries to move the individuals arm, which will move only in ratchet-like or short, jerky movements known as cogwheel rigidity.
  • Bradykinesia. This slowing down of spontaneous and automatic movement is particularly frustrating because it may make simple tasks difficult. The person cannot rapidly perform routine movements. Activities once performed quickly and easilysuch as washing or dressingmay take much longer. There is often a decrease in facial expressions.
  • Postural instability. Impaired balance and changes in posture can increase the risk of falls.

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Do Symptoms Get Worse

PD does not affect everyone the same way. The rate of progression and the particular symptoms differ among individuals.

PD symptoms typically begin on one side of the body. However, the disease eventually affects both sides, although symptoms are often less severe on one side than on the other.

Early symptoms of PD may be subtle and occur gradually. Affected people may feel mild tremors or have difficulty getting out of a chair. Activities may take longer to complete than in the past. Muscles stiffen and movement may be slower. The persons face may lack expression and animation . People may notice that they speak too softly or with hesitation, or that their handwriting is slow and looks cramped or small. This very early period may last a long time before the more classical and obvious motor symptoms appear.

As the disease progresses, symptoms may begin to interfere with daily activities. Affected individuals may not be able to hold utensils steady or they may find that the shaking makes reading a newspaper difficult.

People with PD often develop a so-called parkinsonian gait that includes a tendency to lean forward, taking small quick steps as if hurrying , and reduced swinging in one or both arms. They may have trouble initiating movement , and they may stop suddenly as they walk .

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