Possible Link To Alzheimers
Though Alzheimers, Huntingtons, and Parkinsons are distinctly different diseases, some evidence has emerged that shows a common link between the three.
All three diseases have proteins within the cells that do not assemble properly. Though the molecular and cellular changes that occur in each disease vary greatly, this protein degradation has been shown to precede early clinical signs in each disease. This is promising news, as more studies are being done to determine whether this can either predict or prevent these neurodegenerative diseases.
There Isnt Enough Investment In Parkinsons
Over that last few decades there have been a number of large scale clinical trials for Parkinsons that have failed at the final hurdle. These disappointments have led some companies to redirect their investment into other research areas, which may be perceived to be lower risk and potentially more profitable. Without investment promising ideas start to pile up on shelves with no opportunity to move forward, and progression towards better treatments slows and eventually stalls.
There are promising scientific discoveries for Parkinsons that are not being picked up and developed by commercial companies. We believe we can step in here to bring new treatments forward faster. Through our Parkinsons Virtual Biotech were acting in a similar way to a small biotech company. However, unlike a commercial company, we are dedicated to developing new treatments for one condition Parkinsons, and doing so as quickly as possible.
Depression With Huntingtons Disease
Due to the nature and lower life expectancy of Huntingtons disease, it is common for a diagnosis to lead to depression. Patients with Huntingtons are at a higher risk of suicide.
If you are struggling with your Huntingtons diagnosis or prognosis, contact the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration National Helpline online or call 1-800-662-4357 to seek help.
For more mental health resources, including a helpful list of links and hotline numbers, see our National Helpline Database.
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The Promise And Potential Of Stem Cells In Parkinsons Disease
Neurosurgeon Viviane Tabar is co-leading a trial to inject stem cells into the brains of people with Parkinsons disease to restore dopamine levels.Credit: Courtesy of Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center
Neurosurgeon Viviane Tabar has scrubbed in. In front of her is the first participant in a clinical trial to determine whether stem cells can be safely injected into the brains of people with Parkinsons disease. The cells had been frozen, but they are now thawed and sitting on ice, waiting for their moment.
Tabar, a physician-scientist at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center in New York City, makes an incision in her patients scalp and drills a small hole in their skull. She then uses a brain scan almost like a GPS, she says, to guide her to the putamen a part of the brain in which levels of the neurotransmitter dopamine are unusually low in people with Parkinsons. Once she has confirmed that shes reached the right spot, she injects the stem cells, then repeats the process on the other side of the brain. She hopes these cells will take hold and eventually begin to produce dopamine where otherwise there would be little or none. The surgery itself is minor enough that the patient can go home the next day.
Treating Parkinsons With Complementary Medicine
Complementary medicine incorporates many different practices that can be used alongside conventional medicine to try to ease PD symptoms. There is typically not as much rigorous data to support the use of complementary medicine techniques, as compared to conventional medicine, but many patients find them helpful. These include yoga and massage.
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Myth : Aside From Medication There Isnt Much You Can Do
Fact: This it is what it is theres nothing I can do to help myself myth is counterproductive. There is a lot you can do chiefly, keeping as active as you can. A recent study found that patients with Parkinsons who took part in weekly, hourlong exercise sessions were able to do more in their daily lives than those who did not.
What Genes Are Linked To Parkinsons Disease
Several genes have been definitively linked to PD:
- SNCA. This gene, which makes the protein alpha-synuclein, was the first gene identified to be associated with Parkinsons. Research findings by the National Institutes of Health and other institutions prompted studies of the role of alpha-synuclein in PD, which led to the discovery that Lewy bodies seen in all cases of PD contain clumps of alpha-synuclein. This discovery revealed the link between hereditary and sporadic forms of the disease.
- LRRK2. Mutations in LRRK2 were originally identified in several English and Basque families as a cause of a late-onset PD. Subsequent studies have identified mutations of this gene in other families with PD as well as in a small percentage of people with apparently sporadic PD. LRRK2 mutations are a major cause of PD in North Africa and the Middle East.
- DJ-1. This gene normally helps regulate gene activity and protect cells from oxidative stress and can cause rare, early forms of PD.
- PRKN . The parkin gene is translated into a protein that normally helps cells break down and recycle proteins.
- PINK1. PINK1 codes for a protein active in mitochondria. Mutations in this gene appear to increase susceptibility to cellular stress. PINK1 has been linked to early forms of PD.
- GBA . Mutations in GBA cause Gaucher disease , but different changes in this gene are associated with an increased risk for Parkinsons disease as well.
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How Is Parkinson’s Disease Diagnosed
There is no test that can prove that you have PD. The diagnosis is based on you having the typical symptoms . In the early stage of the disease, when symptoms are mild, it may be difficult for a doctor to say if you definitely have PD. As the symptoms gradually become worse, the diagnosis often becomes more clear.
PD is sometimes confused with other conditions. Some conditions can give ‘Parkinsonism’ features – that is, symptoms similar to PD but caused by other conditions. For example, some medicines used to treat other conditions can cause side-effects which resemble symptoms of PD. Some rare brain disorders can also cause similar symptoms.
Therefore, it is normal practice in the UK to be referred to a specialist if PD is suspected. The specialist will be used to diagnosing PD and ruling out other causes of the symptoms. They will usually be either a neurologist or a doctor specialising in elderly care. If there is still doubt about the diagnosis, sometimes a scan of the brain is carried out. This helps to differentiate PD from some other conditions that can cause Parkinsonism features. Other tests sometimes needed include blood tests and tests of your sense of smell.
What Causes Huntingtons Disease
Huntingtons disease is caused by a mutation in the HTT gene. The HTT gene is responsible for making the huntingtin protein, which is thought to play an important role in nerve cells of the brain.
In Huntingtons disease, a DNA segment within this gene, called the CAG trinucleotide repeat, is repeated more often than is normal.
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Can Exercise Help Patients Gain Ground On Parkinsons Disease
In medicines ongoing battle with disease, technology plays a major, ever-evolving role. Advances abound in the form of new drugs, medical devices and gene therapies. But a decidedly low-tech treatment strategy for at least one disease simply requires putting one foot in front of the other literally.
The target is Parkinsons disease, a progressive movement disorder that affects around 1 million people in the United States and 10 million worldwide. While there is no cure, there are drugs to treat the symptoms of Parkinsons, including tremors, rigidity, and impairment of fine motor movements. But a growing body of evidence suggests that a powerful counter to this movement disorder may be, well, movement.
A new nationwide trial that includes the University of Colorado is putting that idea to the test. Study in Parkinson Disease of Exercise is a randomized clinical trial investigating whether regular, moderate and high-intensity exercise can slow the progression of symptoms in patients in the early stages of Parkinsons disease who have not yet begun drug treatment.
Groundwork previously laid
The study, which is underway at 29 sites in North America, builds on the findings of SPARX2. That trial concluded in 2016, with results published in 2018 in JAMA Neurology. SPARX2 was led at CU by Dr. Margaret Schenkman, then director of the Physical Therapy Program and a pioneering investigator in using physical therapy to treat Parkinsons disease.
The SPARX3 Team:
Anticholinergics For Early On
The first pharmacological agents used in PD therapy were anticholinergic drugs. They reduce the activity of acetylcholine by acting as antagonists at choline receptors, hoping to restore the balance between dopamine and acetylcholine levels that was disturbed by PD. These drugs have largely been replaced by L-DOPA and other centrally acting dopaminergic agonists, but they still remain available for use in the treatment of PD. Benztropine, biperiden, diphenhydramine, ethopropazine, orphenadrine, procyclidine, and trihexyphenidyl are included in this therapeutic class of drugs, though there is little pharmacokinetic information available on them because of their low plasma drug concentrations. Typically, anticholinergic drugs have a greater role in tremor-predominant PD and can be a monotherapy in early stages, but are usually done in adjunct with L-DOPA or other prescribed medications.
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Restoration Of Dopaminergic Deficits
Treatment of many of the motor symptoms of PD can be achieved through restoration of striatal dopaminergic tone. This may be accomplished through targeted delivery of dopamine-producing cells, or the use of viruses to deliver genes encoding the enzymes required for dopamine biosynthesis into the striatum. Targeting these regenerative treatments to the striatum, the site of greatest dopamine loss in PD, would minimize the off-target effects seen with oral dopamine-replacement.
Is Parkinsons Disease Inherited
Scientists have discovered gene mutations that are associated with Parkinsons disease.
There is some belief that some cases of early-onset Parkinsons disease disease starting before age 50 may be inherited. Scientists identified a gene mutation in people with Parkinsons disease whose brains contain Lewy bodies, which are clumps of the protein alpha-synuclein. Scientists are trying to understand the function of this protein and its relationship to genetic mutations that are sometimes seen in Parkinsons disease and in people with a type of dementia called Lewy body dementia.
Several other gene mutations have been found to play a role in Parkinsons disease. Mutations in these genes cause abnormal cell functioning, which affects the nerve cells ability to release dopamine and causes nerve cell death. Researchers are still trying to discover what causes these genes to mutate in order to understand how gene mutations influence the development of Parkinsons disease.
Scientists think that about 10% to 15% of persons with Parkinsons disease may have a genetic mutation that predisposes them to development of the disease. There are also environmental factors involved that are not fully understood.
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The Investigation In Mice
In their recent study paper, the scientists refer to research suggesting that neurotrophic factors molecules that help neurons survive and thrive could, in theory, restore the function of neurons that produce dopamine. However, the clinical benefit of these factors had yet to be proven.
The team focused on bone morphogenetic proteins 5 and 7 . They had previously shown that BMP5/7 has an important role in dopamine-producing neurons in mice.
In the latest study, the scientists wanted to see whether BMP5/7 could protect the neurons of mice against the damaging effects of misfolded alpha-synuclein proteins.
To do this, they injected one group of mice with a viral vector that caused misfolded alpha-synuclein proteins to form in their brains. They used other mice as a control group. The scientists then injected the mice with the BMP5/7 protein.
Therapy Services Nutrition And Wellness Plans
An integral part of Parkinsons disease treatment is ensuring that each patient receives all the support services they need to help manage the impact the disease has on their overall health and well-being.
Part of the multidisciplinary care provided at Brigham and Womens Hospital, many patients with Parkinsons disease also benefit from:
- Speech therapy
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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:
To Slow Or Stop Disease Progression
The researchers found that the BMP5/7 protein hada significant protective effect against the misfolded alpha-synuclein proteins.
According to senior study author Dr. Claude Brodski, of the Israel-based Ben-Gurion University of the Negevs Department of Physiology and Cell Biology, We found that BMP5/7 treatment can, in a Parkinsons disease mouse model, efficiently prevent movement impairments caused by the accumulation of alpha-synuclein and reverse the loss of dopamine-producing brain cells. He continues:
These findings are very promising, since they suggest that BMP5/7 could slow or stop Parkinsons disease progression. Currently, we are focusing all our efforts on bringing our discovery closer to clinical application.
The universitys technology transfer company, BGN Technologies, is currently looking to bring the development to the market.
Dr. Galit Mazooz-Perlmuter, the companys senior vice president of bio-pharma business development, notes that There is a vast need for new therapies to treat Parkinsons disease, especially in advanced stages of the disease.
Dr. Brodskis findings, although still in their early stages, offer a disease-modified drug target that will address this devastating condition. We are now seeking an industry partner for further development of this patent-pending invention.
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Do Animals Suffer From Parkinsons Disease
PD is one of many human diseases which do not appear to have spontaneously arisen in animals. The characteristic features of the disease can however be more or less faithfully imitated in animals through the administration of various neurotoxic agents and drugs disturbing the dopaminergic neurotransmission.
What Is Obtained The First Symptom Of Parkinson Disease
Symptoms start gradually, sometimes starting with a barely noticeable tremor in just one hand. Tremors are common, but the disorder also commonly causes stiffness or slowing of movement. In the early stages of Parkinsons disease, your face may show little or no expression. Your arms may not swing when you walk.
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Assembling Your Care Team
Assembling a team that will provide you with physical and emotional support and adapt to your needs over time is one of the best ways to remain healthy. Parkinsons disease is complex and requires an interdisciplinary approach to care. The care team may include, but is not limited to:
- Movement disorder specialist
- Rehabilitation specialists including physical, occupational, and speech therapists
Why Is There No Cure For Pd
In my mind, there are several potential reasons there is no cure for Parkinsons disease . The brain is an extremely complex organ and there is no known definitive cause for the disease. Each PD diagnosis is unique, patients suffer different symptoms and different rates of disease progression, and certain remedies work for some but not for others. Is there any wonder why there is not yet a cure for PD and why nothing currently exists to slow its progression?
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Physical Therapy For Parkinsons Disease
As noted, Parkinsons disease is primarily a movement disorder. So it makes sense that people with PD often benefit from different types of physical therapy to help with their mobility and safety. There are several different kinds of experts who can help with this. These experts include neurologists, rehab physicians, and physical, occupational, and speech therapists.
Physical therapy can specifically improve:
Balance. Improved balance can reduce the risk of falls. As many as 87% of people with PD have a fall at some point. And the risk is much higher over age 70.
Posture. People with PD tend to lean forward when they walk. But they risk falling backward when they stand up. Physical therapists improve your awareness of center of gravity and posture recovery.
Walking. People with PD often have a shuffling gait. Therapists use audio and visual cues to improve fluidity of walking. And they can teach you how to do this at home.
Mobility: People with PD often benefit from using devices like canes, walkers, and wheelchairs to safely move around.
Occupational therapy helps you perform daily activities. Occupational therapists can help with:
Tremor control. This can help you learn how to eat, dress, and bath with unsteady hands.
Home safety. You might learn how to use devices like shower chairs, grab bars, bedside commodes, and more to reduce fall risk at home.
Work adaptations. People with PD can customize voice-activated technologies for computers, cars, and equipment.