News ArchivesRead News
Implanted eye cells eased Parkinson’s
Thursday December 22, 2005
December 19, 2005(Reuters Health) - A handful of people with Parkinson’s disease showed marked improvement after surgeons implanted in their brains chemical-producing cells taken from the eye of a dead donor, researchers said last week.
Cells from the inner, or pigment, layer of the eye’s retina make levodopa, which Parkinson’s patients commonly take in pill form to replace lost production of the neurotransmitter dopamine.
Dopamine allows the brain to control the body’s movements.
For most patients, levodopa pills lose their effectiveness within five years, and larger and larger doses are needed to curb the involuntary movements and shaking symptomatic of the disease.
Many people on the drug develop involuntary writhing or dance-like movements.
The retina cells were cultivated and implanted in the brains of six patients with advanced Parkinson’s, researcher Natividad Stover of the University of Alabama said.
One year later, the patients scored 48 percent higher on tests of movement and coordination, and the improvement was sustained after two years, Stover wrote in the journal Archives of Neurology.
’’The implants were well tolerated," the report said. Improvement was also observed in daily living and quality of life.
Parkinson’s is a degenerative disease in which key brain cells that produce dopamine die off. Symptoms start with tremors and rigidity, and patients can end up paralyzed. The cause of the disease, which attacks 2 percent of men and 1.3 percent of women, is unknown, and there is no cure.
Some scientists have viewed implanting fetal stem cells into the brains of Parkinson’s patients as a promising avenue to restore dopamine production. But preliminary human trials were disappointing, and animal experiments have yielded mixed results.
Other treatments showing promise include deep brain stimulation with implanted electrodes, drugs that promote brain cell growth, and gene therapy.
The researchers said a larger study has been started to test the efficacy and safety of retina cell implants.
Recent NewsAug 14 - 16 Tips to Increase Your Mobility Confidence While Living With Parkinson’s Disease
Aug 10 - Boxers are fighting back against Parkinson’s
Aug 7 - The Importance of Oral Health in Parkinson’s Disease
Aug 7 - Researchers Gain Better Insight Into Alpha-Synuclein’s Role in Parkinson’s Disease
Jul 31 - New Digital Cognitive Assessment Tool Receives Positive FDA Review
Jul 20 - Parkinson’s DREAM Challenge Uses Mobile Sensor Data to Monitor Health Based on Movement
Jul 19 - What Young-onset Parkinson’s Can Look Like
Jul 7 - Parkinson’s Patients Have a Higher Risk of Developing Melanoma — and Vice Versa, Study Finds
Jun 27 - The rogue protein behind Parkinson’s disease may also protect your gut
Jun 26 - Do Statins Increase Risk of Parkinson’s Disease? Some Researchers Think So
Jun 22 - A Confused Immune System Could Be Behind Parkinson's Disease
Jun 21 - Predicting cognitive deficits in people with Parkinson’s disease
Jun 20 - Gym offers classes in noncontact boxing for Parkinson’s patients
Jun 19 - Human Limitations Could Prevent Us From Advancing in Science. AI Could Help.
Jun 13 - Brain Cell Transplants Are Being Tested Once Again For Parkinson's
Jun 12 - Smell Test May Sniff Out Oncoming Parkinson's and Alzheimer's
Jun 8 - Smartphones Track Motor Function in Parkinson's Disease
Jun 8 - GKC Enrolls First Patient in Personal KinetiGraph Trial as Part of NPF’s Parkinson’s Outcomes Project
Jun 8 - Low-fat dairy intake may raise Parkinson's risk
Jun 6 - Patient Voices: Parkinson's Disease