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Your Weekly Parkinson's News Update for the Week of October 22
Monday October 22, 2018
Unique Collaboration Utilizing the International Space Station Accelerates Parkinson's and Multiple Sclerosis Research
Cision PR Newswire
The National Stem Cell Foundation, Summit for Stem Cell Foundation, The New York Stem Cell Foundation Research Institute, and Space Tango today announced a bi-coastal research collaboration to study Parkinson's and primary progressive multiple sclerosis (PPMS) in microgravity. For the first time, cells from patients with Parkinson's and PPMS will be sent to the International Space Station for a unique opportunity to observe cell-to-cell interactions in neurodegenerative disease when the gravitational forces that act on cells are removed.
"Blood samples showed that fractions of alpha-synuclein in neuronal and oligodendroglial exosomes were different enough to distinguish Parkinson's from MSA patients with 90% sensitivity and specificity, according to Gal Bitan, PhD, and Suman Dutta, PhD, both of the University of California Los Angeles, and colleagues.If this research points toward something that can be developed into a sensitive diagnostic test, it could help patients avoid months or years of uncertainty, she added."
"In its current state, neuroimaging is still not able to accurately predict dementia in patients affected by Parkinson's disease. However, new techniques sensitive to tissue microstructure/biochemical alterations that reflect the very earliest stages of cognitive involvement are now becoming available."
Levodopa is a natural dopamine precursor with very mild side effects and, according to Giuseppe Frazzitta, head of the PD and neurorehabilitation department at Moriggia-Pelascini Hospital in Italy, it is “the best drug for rigidity and bradykinesia in PD.” However, “While levodopa is effective in the early stages, as the condition progresses and the symptoms of postural and gait dysfunction arise, the drug becomes ineffective.” Possible treatments range greatly and look to manage levodopa resistance.
Researchers from the University of Alabama at Birmingham culled relevant participants from the 5% Medicare claims data between 2006 and 2012 to examine the relationship between gout and incident Parkinson's. The strongest link between gout and Parkinson's was discovered in individuals between the ages of 65 and 75 years compared with other age groups. The researchers suggested that "mechanisms of this increased risk need to be evaluated in future studies."
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