NWPF

News ArchivesRead News

Parkinson's-related mutations may also affect vision

Tuesday February 26, 2013

News Medical - The most common genetic cause of Parkinson's is not only responsible for the condition's distinctive movement problems but may also affect vision, according to new research by scientists at the University of York.

Parkinson's, the second most common form of neurodegenerative disease, principally affects people aged over 60. Its most common symptom is tremor and slowness of movement (bradykinesia) but some people with Parkinson's also experience changes in vision.

Now for the first time, researchers in the University's Department of Biology have established a link between a mutation which triggers Parkinson's and problems with vision in an animal model.

The latest research, part-funded by leading research charity Parkinson's UK is published in Human Molecular Genetics. Scientists at York studied the impact of the most common Parkinson's-related mutation on nerve cells in the visual system of the fruit fly, Drosophila.

Using electroretinagram (ERG) technology they found a gradual loss of function in eye nerve cells with the mutant gene. The fly visual system is a useful laboratory model as it contains similar amounts of dopamine to the human eye.

However, the research team, which was supported by the University's Centre for Chronic Disease and Disorders (C2D2), found that other Parkinson's-related mutations did not affect eye nerve cell function and there was no loss of vision.

Dr Chris Elliott, who led the research, said: "This is a significant step forward as it will help to identify those people with Parkinson's who may be at greater risk of changes in their vision. It will assist clinicians to manage the condition more effectively.

"We have to get away from the idea that Parkinson's is only about movement problems. This work indicates that changes in vision may also affect people with the most common form of inherited Parkinson's."

Claire Bale, Research Communications Manager at Parkinson's UK added: "This new research has uncovered a potentially interesting relationship between one of the most common genes linked to Parkinson's and the development of visual problems.

"But crucially this study looked at fruit flies, so we need to do more research to find out how relevant the findings are to people living with the condition.

"If you have Parkinson's and notice changes in your eyesight, such as blurred or double vision, it's important to discuss this with your specialist or Parkinson's nurse."

Source: University of York

Recent News

Jul 14 - Cancer drug shows early promise for Parkinson's disease
Jul 13 - Opinion: Dividing the Caregiving Responsibilities Between Siblings
Jul 12 - Researchers make advance in possible treatments for Gaucher, Parkinson’s diseases
Jul 11 - Parkinson’s Head Trauma Link Looks Even Stronger
Jul 7 - Penn students’ start-up XEED puts wearables to work against Parkinson’s disease
Jul 5 - Last Patient Enrolled in Pivotal Phase 3 Parkinson’s Disease Trial, Cynapsus Therapeutics Says
Jun 29 - Exoskeleton Could Quell the Tremors of Parkinson's Disease Patients at Crucial Moments
Jun 28 - Parkinson's disease: New protein discovery could fuel new treatments
Jun 27 - Study finds direct evidence linking Parkinson’s to autoimmune disease; 2 genes that are key regulators of immune system discovered
Jun 27 - Blocking key enzyme halts parkinson's disease symptoms in mice
Jun 23 - Parkinson's Research Might Benefit from Novel Discovery of Zinc Transport Protein Structure
Jun 23 - Parkinson's disease breakthrough 'could lead to cure'
Jun 20 - More American men diagnosed with Parkinson's
Jun 15 - First monkey genetically engineered to have Parkinson’s created
Jun 14 - Fighting Parkinson's in the lab
Jun 9 - A New Gene Has Been Linked to Parkinson's Disease
Jun 6 - A neurologist weighs in on Muhammad Ali's battle with Parkinson's disease
Jun 5 - Michael J. Fox: How to honor Muhammad Ali
Jun 3 - Singing improves speech of people with Parkinson's, but more research needed
Jun 1 - San Diego Parkinson’s Research Sparks Ethical Discussion