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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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Saturday, January 16, 2016
Effect of the pituitary adenylate cyclase-activating polypeptide on the autophagic activation observed in in vitro and in vivo models of Parkinson's disease.
Jan. 16, 2016
Parkinson's disease (PD) is a neurodegenerative disorder that leads to destruction of the midbrain dopaminergic (DA) neurons. This phenomenon is related to apoptosis and its activation can be blocked by the pituitary adenylate cyclase-activating polypeptide (PACAP). Growing evidence indicates that autophagy, a self-degradation activity that cleans up the cell, is induced during the course of neurodegenerative diseases. However, the role of autophagy in the pathogenesis of neuronal disorders is yet poorly understood and the potential ability of PACAP to modulate the related autophagic activation has never been significantly investigated. Hence, we explored the putative autophagy-modulating properties of PACAP in in vitro and in vivo models of PD, using the neurotoxic agents 1-methyl-4-phenylpyridinium (MPP+) and 1-methyl-4-phenyl-1,2,3,6-tetrahydropyridine (MPTP), respectively, to trigger alterations of DA neurons. In both models, following the toxin exposure, PACAP reduced the autophagic activity as evaluated by the production of LC3 II, the modulation of the p62 protein levels, and the formation of autophagic vacuoles. The ability of PACAP to inhibit autophagy was also observed in an in vitro cell assay by the blocking of the p62-sequestration activity produced with the autophagy inducer rapamycin. Thus, the results demonstrated that autophagy is induced in PD experimental models and that PACAP exhibits not only anti-apoptotic but also anti-autophagic properties.
January 16, 2016
Reduced expression of lysosomal-associated membrane protein 2a and heatshock-cognate 70 proteins, involved in chaperone-mediated autophagy and of glucocerebrosidase, is reported in PD brains. The aim of this study was to identify systemic alterations in lysosomal-associated membrane protein 2a, heatshock cognate-70, and glucocerebrosidase levels/activity in peripheral blood mononuclear cells from PD patients. Protein/mRNA levels were assessed in PD patients from genetically undetermined background, alpha-synuclein (G209A/A53T), or glucocerebrosidase mutation carriers and age-/sex-matched controls. Heatshock cognate 70 protein levels were reduced in all PD groups, whereas its mRNA levels were decreased only in the genetically undetermined group. Glucocerebrosidase protein levels were decreased only in the genetic PD groups, whereas increased mRNA levels and decreased activity were detected only in the glucocerebrosidase mutation group. Reduced heatshock cognate-70 levels are suggestive of an apparent systemic chaperone-mediated autophagy dysfunction irrespective of genetic background. Glucocerebrosidase activity may serve as a screening tool to identify glucocerebrosidase mutation carriers with PD. © 2015 International Parkinson and Movement Disorder Society. © 2015 International Parkinson and Movement Disorder Society
Friday, January 15, 2016
January 15, 2016
In experiments on the fruit fly model organism Drosophila melanogaster, Heidelberg University biologists gained new insight into how feeding behaviour is encoded and controlled. The research team led by Prof. Dr. Ingrid Lohmann of the Centre for Organismal Studies (COS) studied the function of a special developmental gene of the Hox gene family. This gene is essential for maintaining a motor unit in the fly's head that consists of a muscle and the stimulating neurons that enable the fly to feed. If the function of the Hox gene was damaged or defective, the unit was not or only partially developed and the animals starved.
"Animals interact with their environment based on stereotypical movement patterns, such as those performed during running, breathing or feeding," explains Prof. Lohmann, who directs the Developmental Biology research group at the Centre for Organismal Studies. "We have known for some time that a family of regulatory genes known as Hox genes is essential for establishing coordinated movement patterns. But until now we did not understand the molecular underpinnings of feeding behaviour." Using Drosophila melanogaster, Prof. Lohmann's team was able to demonstrate that a specific Hox gene, known as Deformed, controls the establishment of the feeding motor unit not only during the development of the embryo. It is also responsible for maintaining its function in later phases of life, which was revealed when the researchers deactivated Deformed after embryogenesis when the motor unit was successfully formed. Yet the typical movement patterns were lost anyway. The team was able to attribute the loss to major changes at the junctions, or synapses, between the neuron and the muscle.
"Our studies show that Hox genes have a protective function in neurons. As soon as this protection is gone, the neurons degenerate, like we observe in neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer's and Parkinson's," explains Prof. Lohmann. Future studies will be devoted to elucidate how Hox genes perform this protective function at the molecular level. The research project was funded by the German Research Foundation.
Woman cleared of killing her husband as jury rules couple were failed by social services
A pensioner accused of killing her husband who suffered from Parkinson's Disease has been cleared as a court hears social services failed them.
Joan Downing, 72, was charged with the manslaughter by neglect of her 82-year-old husband Maurice.
Police accused her of killing him by leaving him lying on the floor of their home for up to seven days, in pools of his own urine and faeces.However a jury of eight men and four women took just an hour to acquit her ruling that social services had failed the couple and left them in an "impossible situation".
Judge Johanna Cutts told the court that during the investigation into his death Slough Borough Council had admitted closing the case too soon and Mrs Downing's defence barrister suggested that social workers should have persuaded her to take up free social care that had been available to the couple.
Instead Mrs Downing was left to care for her seriously ill husband, who suffered from Parkinson's Disease in their small family home in Slough, Berkshire.
Within one month of taking over his care, her husband fell and she was unable to pick him up and he was left on their living room floor for up to seven days.
When Mrs Downing called an ambulance her husband's injuries were so severe he died in Wexham Park Hospital, Slough, five days later.
It was also revealed that a health check to establish whether he was eligible for free health care was carried out without her knowledge by a social worker who decided that he did not qualify despite suffering from Parkinson's and having been in and out of hospital on a number of occasions after serious falls.
Speaking after the verdict, Mrs Downing said: "It was certainly a worry, I myself am 72, I've got health problems. I've got diabetes and I fall over sometimes but I jump back up!
"I also have had mental issues too, I'm not well myself. I've spent time on psychiatric wards but I have always worked and looked after myself.
"My husband would be turning in his grave if he saw what I had to go through. It had been a worry, it has all been a worry and I am so relieved."
Slough Borough Council says it will hold an investigation into how the department closes cases and a review is due to be launched into how staff work with other care agencies to ensure other vulnerable people will be "protected" in the future.
A spokesman for Slough Borough Council said: "It is always with sadness that we learn that someone the council previously supported has died and we offer our condolences to the friends and family of Mr Maurice Downing.
"Mr Downing was previously supported by the council's adult social care services but upon moving in with his wife, care and support from the council was turned down.
"Following each capacity assessment, it was deemed that Mr Downing had capacity to make decisions about his care and treatment and as a result social care services provided by the council were refused. Health and social care services continued to monitor Mr Downing's care needs.
|Photo: INS News Agency|
"A review into this case by the Slough Safeguarding Adults Board in conjunction with the Safer Slough Partnership has been undertaken and since then a great deal of work has been done to drive forward improvements in social care procedures, particularly around how we close cases where someone with capacity refuses care and support.
"We have also reviewed how we work with other agencies to support the management and identification of risks when someone with capacity refuses care, and changes have been made to operational procedures.
"The council is committed to providing high quality social care and support to our vulnerable residents and is determined to learn the lessons from this case so that others are protected in the future."
Ian Glen QC defending had told the jury Mr Downing should have had two carers.
"Joan was put in an impossible position," he said.
"Social services themselves instructed that two carers would be needed for each home visit for Maurice, yet she was left to care for him alone.
"She did the best she could after social services closed the case too soon.
"It was a recipe for this tragedy."
Judge Cutts said, while summing up the case at Reading Crown Court, had said his widow had been worried about the cost of his care.
"The defendant had knowledge of her husband's ailments and knew how to care for him. She also knew there was help available including her GP, nurses and emergency services," she said.
"The prosecution says that by the time he was on the floor he was not wearing any nappies and she knew she could not clean him properly at home. He was cold and stiff and unclean.
"The defence says she was not competent to be a carer as she had no expertise. She was unwell herself and was uncooperative with social services she was worried about the cost of care. This was all known to the authorities. She did her best in all circumstance, all be it that that was incompetent."
The ordeal lasted 18 months.
Thursday, January 14, 2016
Salk Scientists Discover How Mitochondria Recover after Damage: The video shows mitochondria of a cell treated with the toxin rotenone. In as little as 30 minutes, the mitochondrial network is reorganized into smaller particles, a process called mitochondrial fragmentation. Scientists at the Salk Institute have provided a molecular explanation for this phenomenon by showing that activation of a master regulating enzyme called AMPK was required for mitochondrial fragmentation during energy stress.
Rachel Loxton, Reporter / 04:55 Thursday 14 January 2016 /
THE daughter of a campaigner who made legal history when he asked Scotland's top court for guidance on assisted suicide paid tribute to her "brave" dad.
Gordon Ross, who was diagnosed with Parkinson's disease in 2005, died in the early hours of yesterday, surrounded by his family, at the age of 67.
The grandfather-of-five had been admitted to hospital two weeks ago with pneumonia. Mr Ross died as a result of that and his other medical issues just after midnight.
The former human celebrant and TV producer has opted to donate his brain to research into Parkinson's disease.
Mr Ross, who lived in a care home in Glasgow's South Side, was described as "intelligent and caring".
His condition had deteriorated significantly in the past three years and he could no longer walk or do simple tasks.
His daughter Veronica Ross, 45, said: "We are so proud of dad.
"I've always thought of him as an intelligent and caring man and he's been so brave throughout all of this.
"He was stubbornly independent, which was great and I think that's what's kept him going all this time."
Mr Ross supported the recent Assisted Suicide (Scotland) Bill and served as a treasurer of
the Humanist Society Scotland (HSS).
Following the defeat of the Bill on May 27 last year, Mr Ross unsuccessfully tried to launch a Judicial Review calling for the Lord Advocate to issue prosecution guidance to provide greater clarity of what charges might be brought to someone who assists a terminally ill person unable to take their own life.
Last month, an undeterred Mr Ross continued his fight and launched an appeal at the Court of Session to overturn the decision.
The family said they would wait to find out the outcome of this judgement before deciding how or if they will continue his battle.
As well as Veronica, his children Jennifer, Adam and Jon also supported his campaign.
Mr Ross was a classical music enthusiast, loved the theatre - and used to love knitting Arran jumpers.
One of his close friend's Marbeth Boyle called Mr Ross a "good man".
The human celebrant added: "He was a very empowered man. He was a very kind man
January 14, 2016
Twenty-six-year-old Faii Ong of the Imperial College London has come up with a wearable device which sufferers of Parkinson’s disease can wear to steady their trembling hands.
Named GyroGlove because it relies on the dynamics of gyroscopes – rotating mechanism in the form of a universally mounted spinning wheel that offers resistance to turns in any direction – the wearable glove makes the shaking hands of Parkinson’s patients to steady down for daily, normal tasks.
Faii Ong developed the idea to create the GyroGlove when he was a 24-year-old medical student posted to care for a 103-year-old Parkinson’s patient. Ong observed that the hands of the patient shook with considerable tremor and she had great difficulty eating a bowl of soup; and since he had been told that drugs had not been too helpful to patients, Ong decided to explore physics to solve the problem.
Parkinson’s disease is a degenerative disorder of the central nervous system characterized by tremor and impaired muscular coordination. The disease affects one in 500 people.
After considering what he could achieve with weights, elastic bands, springs, hydraulics, and even soft robots, Ong settled on gyroscopes – a childhood toy for many kids.
“Mechanical gyroscopes are like spinning tops: they always try to stay upright by conserving angular momentum,” he explained. “My idea was to use gyroscopes to instantaneously and proportionally resist a person’s hand movement, thereby dampening any tremors in the wearer’s hand.”
Together with a number of other young students from ICL, Ong carried out a number of tests in the university’s prototyping laboratory until he fine-tuned his created device, the GyroGlove. It is perhaps the first wearable treatment for steadying hand tremors, and trials showed it reduced hand tremors by as much as 90%.
GyroGlove comes in a simple design which utilizes a miniature but inherently adjustable gyroscope which is placed at the back of the hand in a plastic casing. As soon as it is powered on, the battery-powered gyroscope comes to life.
According to MIT Technology Review, “Its orientation is adjusted by a precession hinge and turntable, both controlled by a small circuit board, thereby pushing back against the wearer’s movements as the gyroscope tries to right itself.”
There is however a problem remaining to be solved before the wearable device goes on sale. “Gyroscopes must be balanced properly according to the speeds at which they are operating,” explained Ong. “Simple as they are, being able to spin them silently and reliably at thousands of RPM is another key challenge.”
The cost of the glove is not known at the moment nor its launching date, but it is hoped to first be released in the UK before September this year for between £400-£600 or $550-$850. After GyroGlove, Ong intends to research into creating steadying devices that will work for leg and body tremors.
By Nathan Eddy | Posted 2016-01-14
The Smart Spoon and Fork, with an ergonomic grip, senses tremors and employs robot technology both up and down and side to side to counteract them.
Chinese health IT specialist Gyenno is merging technology, health, big data and the Internet of things (IoT) with the launch of the Smart Spoon and Fork, which counteract hand tremors from Parkinson’s Disease and other conditions by keeping the utensil steady and collects data in the cloud about the patient’s tremors.
In addition, the company’s washable Smart Cup is an interactive cup featuring an LCD screen and provides user feedback. All three products integrate sensors along with data about certain health conditions and sophisticated algorithms.
Between Parkinson’s disease, which is estimated to affect 7 million or more people worldwide, and a neurological condition called Essential Tremors which is even more prevalent, many tens of millions of people worldwide suffer from shaky hands, making it extremely difficult to hold a utensil and eat without spilling.
The Smart Spoon and Fork, with its ergonomic grip, senses the tremor and employs robot technology both up and down and side to side to counteract the tremor and keep the food on the utensil. The company says the utensils are capable of offsetting 85 percent of unwanted tremors.
The Smart Cup’s LCD screen provides continuous feedback to users about how much liquid has been consumed, reminders about how often to drink, the temperature of the liquid and basic data about weather and time.
The Cup also allows users to create custom drinking plans (how much, how frequently), provides friendly reminders, and, because it is a connected device, it also provides notes and reminders so users stay properly hydrated.
"All our products are innovative,” Kang Ren, CEO, Gyenno Technologies, told eWEEK. "We have a team who have more than 10 years’ experience in R&D and manufacturing. The pursuit of innovation and quality push us to achieve the goal."
Ren also noted the company has the cooperation of top Chinese universities to work together on some difficulties, which provide them with more resources to develop their ideas into real products.
Both the Smart Spoon and Fork (sold as a set) are available on Amazon, with the set listed for $299. The Smart Cup will be coming to Amazon soon (available first in China) and will sell for $70-$100. The company also offers a smartphone app which works with the Spoon and Cup.