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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
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Tuesday, May 2, 2017

Hunger Hormone’ Could Help Treat Parkinson’s Disease

May 2, 2017  By Ana Aceves

New evidence suggests being hungry isn’t a bad thing, at least for your brain.
When the “hunger hormone” ghrelin was first discovered in 1996, scientists were excited about its future application the treatment of eating disorders. Years of research revealed that the hormone, which is produced in an empty stomach, stimulates appetite and regulates the distribution and rate of use of energy.
But now, at Swansea University in the United Kingdom, Jeffery Davis and his team added ghrelin to lab-grown mouse brain cells and found that it activated neurogenesis—the process by which neurons divide and multiply. This work could revolutionize how we treat neurodegenerative conditions like Parkinson’s disease.
Scientists have discovered that ghrelin, known as the "hunger hormone," activates the process by which cells divide and multiply—offering a possible treatment for Parkinson’s disease.

Parkinson’s disease is a long-term disorder of the central nervous system that primarily affects the motor system. Scientists don’t know the cause of the disease, but it’s believed to be a result of a loss of type of brain cell. But some research, even some conducted by Davis, suggests ghrelin could play a part in treating it. Here’s Clare Wilson, writing for New Scientist:
In further experiments, Davies’s team found that ghrelin protects brain cells in a dish from dying when they are encouraged to mimic Parkinson’s disease. And Davies’s colleague Amanda Hornsby found that, in a study of 28 volunteers, people with Parkinson’s dementia—cognitive impairment caused by Parkinson’s disease—have lower levels of ghrelin in their blood than people who don’t have the condition.
This indicates that in the future, ghrelin could be used to treat Parkinson’s dementia. From an evolutionary perspective, the link between ghrelin and mental ability makes sense. If an animal is hungry, it needs extra brainpower to find that vital next meal. Previous studies on mice showed that a reduced-calorie diet helped boost the number of neural connections in their brain and they performed better on learning and memory tests.

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