Breakthroughs in Parkinson’s – What you Need to Know!

Every day, scientists and researchers around the world are working to find a cure for Parkinson’s Disease. Funding for research is at its highest levels ever!

Parkinson’s Disease is a degenerative disorder affecting the central nervous system. It mainly affects the motor system and common symptoms include tremors, rigid or painful muscles, weak facial muscles, changes in sleep patterns, and changes in digestion patterns.

In a scientific study of 692 people with Parkinson’s Disease, researchers from the Data Science Institute and Faculty of Health and Medicine at Lancaster University have identified two gene variants they say are associated with an improved response to a medication prescribed in early stages of the disease.

For some unknown reason, the relief provided by the medication to alleviate symptoms of the disease tapers with time. However, it appears that the gene variant may trigger better response to medication in some people better than in others. The results of this study point out the importance of continued research in the area of targeted gene therapy – therapy developed based on targeting the unique disease characteristics of each patient.

In other news, researchers announced that a new therapeutic approach – replacing cells in your brain to produce dopamine – offers promising results that are being studied for the development of better treatments. Researchers from the University of Alabama at Birmingham announced that a biomarker found in the urine and spinal fluid of Parkinson’s patients shows the progression of the disease offering hope for advanced diagnosis and treatment. The biomarker is a protein that indicates both the presence and severity of the disease.

Australian researchers have developed a blood test that detects Parkinson’s Disease. This is exciting since currently, doctors rely on the use of various neurological exams to make a diagnosis. The test, funded in part by the Michael J. Fox Parkinson’s Research Foundation, was tested on humans with a 95% accuracy rate.

The University of Leicester conducted a five year study to lower levels of toxic metabolites found in the nervous system. Researchers say that they focused on targeting proteins that damage brain cells and were able to improve symptoms in fruit flies. The studies will also be applied to Alzheimer’s Disease.

Exciting research continues throughout the world in the race to finding a cure!

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