The Parkinson’s Disease Foundation has announced awards totalling more than $1 million for 11 novel research projects, which they claim are "designed to understand the cause(s) of and find a cure for Parkinson’s disease." The research ranges from basic science investigations to studies of potential new therapies and symptomatic relief.
The primary cause of Parkinson's Disease is the insufficient formation of dopamine in the dopaminergic neurons, which are the brain cells specialised in producing dopamine. Yet most of the projects are quite remote from this basic biochemistry of Parkinson's Disease. One of them aims at studying "the role of norepinephrine" and "the potential of norepinephrine-targeted therapies to treat" Parkinson's Disease. However, norepinephrine is not produced by the cells affected in Parkinson's Disease, and the formation or lack of formation of norepinephrine has never been shown to cause Parkinson's Disease. Another project is to assess "the role of the mitochondria in Parkinson’s" Disease using "Transparent Zebrafish". The mitochondria is the energy producing part of all brain cells. It is not directly involved in dopamine formation, and its deficiency has never been shown to cause Parkinson's Disease. Another project concerns the "Identification of Genes for Parkinson's Disease in an Isolated Greek Community". However, genetic mutations have only ever been proven to make Parkinson's Disease more likely in a small number of people. Other studies include looking at the use of "Electrical Stimulation", "Identification of Neuroprotective Factors in Tobacco", generating "interest in Parkinson’s research and patient care among basic scientists and clinicians", and "Small Aromatic Molecules as Novel Inhibitors of Alpha-Synuclein Aggregation".