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News Update for the Week of 3.16.20

Monday March 16, 2020
Parkinson's Linked to Gene Targeted by Blue-Green Algae Toxin
MedicalXpress
"We found a gene, previously not known to be linked to Parkinson's, which displayed reduced activity in people with the condition. This same gene is known to be targeted by a blue-green algae neurotoxin," stated Dr. Jacob Gratten, scientist from the University of Queensland, New Zealand.
Blue-green algae is found in inland waterways and poses a health risk to people, domestic animals, and stock that come into contact with the toxic algal blooms. "This gives us confidence that we're moving in the right direction towards understanding the environmental causes of Parkinson's disease," Dr. Gratten said.
Some Social Security Offices to Temporarily Close
Department of Social & Health Services
For information on Social Security Office hours in your state, please click on the above headline or https://www.ssa.gov/agency/emergency/#W
'Natural killer' Cells Could Help Stop Progression of Parkinson's
News Medical
White blood cells are considered to be "natural killers" (NK): researchers at the University of Georgia's Regenerative Bioscience Center and their colleagues discovered that NK cells could prevent the cellular changes that lead to Parkinson's and help stop its progression.
"We believe that NK cells exert protection by their ability to reduce inflammation in the brain and clear proteins that misfold and create toxic clumps," lead author Jae-Kyung 'Jamise' Lee said. "In their absence, proteins were left unchecked, and we saw a substantial decrease in viral resistant cells, confirming that NK cells are a major source of signaling proteins that boost the immune system response."
Ask the MD: Coronavirus and Parkinson’s
Michael J. Fox Foundation
Fox Foundation asked Parkinson's-specific questions of Dr. Susan Bressman, Mirken Family Professor of Neurology at Icahn School of Medicine and Director of the Bonnie and Tom Strauss Movement Disorder Center, Mount Sinai Health System. As this interview took place on March 11, please consider that public health policy and understanding is changing on a daily basis. Consult CDC.gov for the latest information.
"While no one is yet an expert on COVID-19 and Parkinson’s", Dr. Bressman says, “Information on COVID-19 is changing daily, but I can tell you what I am telling my own patients as of today.”