News ArchivesRead News

Scottish Brains Sent to Australia for Study into Parkinson's Disease

Wednesday November 27, 2013

It is hoped a link will be discovered between dopamine levels and exposure to light that could lead to treatment for the disease.
Nicola Stow

Daily Record - THE University of Edinburgh has donated Scots’ brain samples to be shared and studied in Melbourne for vital research into Parkinson’s disease.

Scientists at the Florey Institute of Neuroscience and Mental Health are investigating whether there is a link between levels of the feel-good molecule dopamine and exposure to light.

The study could lead to new treatments for conditions such as Parkinson’s disease in which dopamine levels are low.

The head of the Florey’s adult neurogenesis laboratory, Tim Aumann, said the pilot study could prove the hypothesis that patients who died in winter had fewer dopamine cells in the midbrain and hypothalamus regions, where dopamine is produced.

The research also raises the potential of drug-free treatments for conditions including schizophrenia and drug addiction where high levels of dopamine are recorded.

There could also be ramifications for conditions such as ADHD and depression in which dopamine levels are low, and seasonal affective disorder, where dopamine levels fluctuate. The study follows animal trials that showed there was a ‘‘chemical switching’’ that occurs in cells in rodent brains when placed in different environments.

But it now needs to be established whether this translates from rodents to humans.

The brain samples were imported because researchers needed to study people who had lived at high altitude, where winter days were short and summer days long.

The 20 samples from the brain bank at the university are evenly split between patients who died in summer and patients who died in winter. Dr Aumann said: ‘‘We’re looking for changes in the number of dopamine cells.”

The golf ball-sized blocks of brain, embedded in paraffin wax to solidify the jelly-like texture, are taken from the midbrain region associated with Parkinson’s disease.

Stow, N. (27 Nov. 2013). Daily Record. Scottish brains sent to Australia for study into Parkinson's disease. www.dailyrecord.co.uk.

Recent News

Nov 22 - A caregiver's story: Living and loving through the slow process of dying
Nov 19 - Testosterone cause of sex differences in the occurrence of Parkinson’s disease, new research suggests
Nov 18 - New strategy reduces side effects in Parkinson's treatment
Nov 14 - Opinion: The never-ending tests of Parkinson's disease
Nov 13 - Parkinson’s disease: A new tool for diagnosis
Nov 10 - Parkinson's Disease Drug May Be Useful For Delaying, Preventing Blindness In Older Population
Nov 9 - Microsoft VP’s diagnosis fuels employees’ heartfelt efforts to help others
Nov 6 - Lewy body dementia: unrecognized and misdiagnosed
Nov 5 - Gait difficulties in Parkinson's linked to new blood vessels in brain
Oct 30 - Special Section: Enabling Technologies for Parkinson’s Disease Management
Oct 27 - Scientists discover a 'switchboard' of molecules that protect against Parkinson's disease
Oct 26 - Dancing improves mobility and quality of life in people with Parkinson's
Oct 23 - The amazing woman who can smell Parkinson’s disease — before symptoms appear
Oct 20 - Personal Essay: The deviousness of dementia
Oct 19 - Mechanism that 'melts' protein clumps may lead to new Parkinson's treatments
Oct 19 - Researchers find that stem cell treatment may reduce cognitive impairment related to dementia with Lewy bodies
Oct 17 - Cancer Drug Helps Parkinson's Patients
Oct 12 - Researchers identify immune gene that can prevent Parkinson's disease and dementia
Oct 12 - Blog Post: An Alert, Well-Hydrated Artist in No Acute Distress
Oct 7 - This month, a brain surgery will be broadcast on live TV for the first time ever