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I copy news articles pertaining to research, news and information for Parkinson's disease, Dementia, the Brain, Depression and Parkinson's with Dystonia. I also post about Fundraising for Parkinson's disease and events. I try to be up-to-date as possible. I have Parkinson's diseases as well and thought it would be nice to have a place where updated news is in one place. That is why I began this blog.
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Tuesday, January 20, 2015
In normally functioning brain cells, mitochondria, or the ''powerhouses'' of cells, generate the energy needed to keep cells alive. When mitochondria become damaged and are no longer capable of making energy, they are sent to a portion of the cell called a lysosome to be repaired; however, in the brains of Parkinson's disease patients, mitochondria fail to move to lysosomes, causing accumulations of damaged mitochondria that kill brain cells.
Now, a University of Missouri (MU) researcher has found a molecule that could aid mitochondrial recycling and keep brain cells alive. The molecule could be key to developing drugs that will keep brain cells healthy in individuals with Parkinson's disease.
''Mitochondria eventually become damaged and no longer function properly, so the cell has a mechanism to recycle them, keeping them strong,'' says Mark Hannink, a professor in the Department of Biochemistry and an investigator at the Bond Life Sciences Center at MU.
He explains, ''In early onset Parkinson's, mutated proteins 'forget' to recycle mitochondria, resulting in a build-up of toxic waste and early onset of the disease. In our study, we found a peptide, or molecule, responsible for an alternative pathway that bypasses the mutant Parkinson's proteins and allows mitochondrial recycling. We feel that this peptide could prove useful in fighting diseases in the brain.''
This alternative pathway for mitochondrial recycling uses a protein called phosphoglycerate mutase family member 5 (PGAM5). In Hannink's study, he discovered a peptide which acts as a ''switch'' to cause the protein to create an alternate pathway. By regulating the protein with the peptide he discovered, it may be possible to restore mitochondrial recycling in neurons of patients with Parkinson's, lessening the severity of the disease.
''Peptides behave like drug molecules,'' Hannink says. ''Any time you can identify a biological process that is regulated by a peptide, that peptide becomes a leading candidate in the search for small, drug-like molecules that will act the same way.''
For Parkinson's disease, the goal is to find ways to repair the mitochondria recycling process. The next step of his research is to produce a drug molecule that can regulate the PGAM5 protein in cells, just as the peptide did in his experiments, Hannink said.
The early-stage results of this research are promising. If additional studies are successful within the next few years, MU officials will request authority from the federal government to begin human drug development (this is commonly referred to as the ''investigative new drug'' status). After this status has been granted, researchers may conduct human clinical trials with the hope of developing new treatments for Parkinson's and other diseases.
Hannink's study, A conserved motif mediates both multimer formulation and allosteric activation of phosphoglycerate mutase 5, recently was published in the Journal of Biological Chemistry. Peter Tipton, professor of biochemistry, and graduate students Jordan M. Wilkins and Cyrus McConnell contributed to the research.
- See more at: http://www.domain-b.com/technology/Health_Medicine/20150117_parkinson.html#sthash.M6Hdr4dK.dpuf
Neuroscientist Jay Alberts is an avid cyclist, but he never expected to make any medical discoveries on his bike.
He did just that on a 50-mile ride across Iowa with his tandem bike partner, fellow neurologist Dr. David Heydrick, who has the movement disorder known as Parkinson's disease.
After the bike trip, Heydrick noticed that his handwriting dramatically improved.
In Alberts' mind, the mysterious side effect of the bike ride held an intriguing medical possibility that motor control in the arms could improve even if it was the legs that were exercising.
"It suggested that there was some change in the central nervous system or the brain function," Alberts told "Good Morning America." "What we were thinking was, maybe we have found a method of exercise here that actually is treating the disease rather than just treating some of the symptoms."
To find out, Alberts started a small trial at the Cleveland Clinic in Cleveland, Ohio, to test whether eight weeks of forced exercise on a tandem bike could improve the symptoms of Parkinson's disease. Forced exercise requires the patient to peddle faster than they would voluntarily.
"What we found was there was a 35 percent improvement in motor functioning for those patients who did the forced exercise compared to the voluntary exercise," Alberts said.
According to Alberts, the improvement lasted, although dwindled, for four weeks after the patients stopped biking.
Current Parkinson's medications generally control only motor functions for a few hours, much less days. Patient Sally Terrell said all the exercise was worth it.
"I noticed that after continued exercise that I have a calmer right side," Terrell said.
Scientists: Exercise Could Be Overriding Nervous System
Researchers think the forced exercise works because making people peddle harder may be overdriving the central nervous system, triggering the release of some chemicals that may improve motor function.
"Maybe we can turn back the clock and improve motor function to earlier levels of diagnosis," Alberts said.
Following the study, Alberts contacted Dr. Micheal Phillips for a brain scan study, comparing the brain of a Parkinson's patient on medication for the disease and one who has exercised. In each, the same brain regions were activated.
"You know, the hope is that you have an alternative way to treat your Parkinson's disease," Phillips said. "This is really cool stuff."
Terrell was so convinced of the workout's effectiveness that she has continued to exercise to battle the disease.
"I have seen the results, and I'm looking forward to keeping this disease at bay as best I can," she said.
Dance companies are getting involved in fighting the disease as well. The Mark Morris Dance Group in New York City offers classes for people suffering with Parkinson's, saying that it improves flexibility and instills confidence.
Scientists said it would take more studies to conclude if exercise actually slowed down the progression of Parkinson's and whether it could complement or even replace medication.
Tuesday January 20, 2015
|THIS IS FILIP BERGQUIST FROM THE INSTITUTE OF NEUROSCIENCE AND PHYSIOLOGY, SAHLGRENSKA ACADEMY, UNIVERSITY OF GOTHENBURG|