Parsing the Puzzle of Parkinson’s GeneticsRecent Findings Reveal Autophagy Malfunction as Common Pathway; Suggest a Roadmap for Early Diagnosis and Intervention
Research into the heritability of Parkinson’s has uncovered novel pathways that could help explain the progressive neuronal degeneration associated with the disease.
Lewy Body Dementia: The Under-Recognized but Common Foe
After Alzheimer’s disease, Lewy body dementia (LBD) is the most prevalent progressive dementia of the many cognitive disorders wreaking unspeakable havoc on millions of lives. LBD is characterized by the presence of Lewy bodies, which are abnormal aggregates of a protein called alpha-synuclein, and are found in regions of the brain that regulate behavior, memory, movement, and personality. Many of the symptoms of Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, and LBD overlap, but LBD is more difficult to diagnose. Underdiagnosis is just part of the reason why LBD is unknown to the public and many health-care providers, and why funding for research lags far behind that for almost every other cognitive disorder.
Finding a Cure for Parkinson’s DiseaseA Report on Progress
Parkinson’s disease (PD) is the second most common neurodegenerative disease after Alzheimer’s, affecting approximately 5 million persons worldwide. With the population aging, it is anticipated that the number of patients with PD will increase dramatically in the coming decades. Clinically, PD is characterized by bradykinesia (slowing of movement); rigidity (stiffness); tremor at rest; and gait disturbance with […]
What Triggers the “Shaking Palsy”?
A pioneer of research on the disabling brain disorder that afflicts more than 500,000 Americans urges a new look at Parkinson disease’s causes, clinical features, and even definition. There is a known genetic element to Parkinson’s disease, but also much evidence for what may be called “the environmental trigger”—evidence that may be downplayed in our era of genetics, suggests Calne. He urges a search for an “event” early in life that may set in motion the destruction of dopamine-producing cells in the brain’s substantia nigra that later in life confronts us with the full-blown disorder.