A groundbreaking Parkinson’s study may be the basis to find a cure for the motor problems patients are dealing with.
A recent study, conducted by two prominent scientists – Prof. Daesoo Kim (Department of Biological Sciences at the Korea Advanced Institute of Science & Technology in Daejeon, South Korea) and Prof. George Augustine, (The Lee Kong Chian School of Medicine in Singapore), “overturned three decades of consensus” on how Parkinson’s disease is triggered.
The new findings show the mechanism that hides behind the symptoms and promises future medication able to tone down, if not face out completely the motor problems the patients have to deal with on a constant basis.
“Our findings are a breakthrough, both for understanding how the brain normally controls the movement of our body and how this control goes awry during Parkinson’s disease and related dopamine-deficiency disorders”, says Prof. Augustine in the findings published in Neuron.
Without going into too much medical details, the study found that Parkinson-like symptoms appear when the activity of a brain region called basal ganglia is inhibited. The basal ganglia control the voluntary movement and any interference in its smooth activity causes disturbances. The inhibition of its activity causes what scientists have called “rebound firing” – a hyperactivity of the neurons involved in movement control.
“The therapeutic implications of this study for the treatment of Parkinsonian symptoms are profound”, says Prof. Daesoo Kim, explaining that soon, “it may become possible to remedy movement disorders without using L-Dopa, a precursor to dopamine.”
Parkinson’s disease is a long-term degenerative disorder of the central nervous system, characterized by motor impairment. It affects approximately 60,000 Americans each year. Worldwide, over 10 million people suffer from it.
Most patients are diagnosed after 50-years of age. Men are 1.5 times more likely to develop Parkinson’s than women.
In the United States, the cost of a patient’s treatment is, on average, $2,500 per year. Where surgery is needed, the cost rises to $100,000.