HomeExclusiveBbc News Parkinson's Breakthrough

Bbc News Parkinson’s Breakthrough

- Advertisement -
- Advertisement -

What New Treatments Are Being Developed

Jeremy Paxman receiving treatment for Parkinson’s disease (UK) – BBC News – 22nd May 2021

Thanks to the progress we’ve already made, there are many different treatments available for Parkinson’s. And today new treatments are being tested in clinical trials that have the potential to slow, stop or even reverse Parkinson’s.

These include:

  • Stem cell therapies. These aim to use healthy, living cells to replace or repair the damage in the brains of people with Parkinson’s.
  • Gene therapies. These use the power of genetics to reprogramme cells and change their behaviour to help them stay healthy and work better for longer.
  • Growth factors . These are naturally occurring molecules that support the growth, development and survival of brain cells.

The Discovery Could Immediately Lead To New Opportunities For Drug Development

Adenosine, a neurotransmitter, has been found to act as a brake on dopamine, another neurotransmitter involved in motor control, by researchers at Oregon Health & Science University. The findings, which were published in the journal Nature, reveal that adenosine and dopamine operate in a push-pull dynamic in the brain.

There are two neuronal circuits: one that helps promote action and the other that inhibits action, said senior author Haining Zhong, Ph.D., a scientist with the OHSU Vollum Institute. Dopamine promotes the first circuit to enable movement, and adenosine is the brake that promotes the second circuit and brings balance to the system.

The discovery has the potential to immediately suggest new avenues for drug development to treat the symptoms of Parkinsons disease. Parkinsons disease is a movement disorder that is believed to be caused by the loss of dopamine-producing cells in the brain.

Tianyi Mao, Ph.D., at left, and Haining Zhong, Ph.D., scientists with the Vollum Institute at Oregon Health & Science University, led a new study finding that adenosine effectively acts as a brake to dopamine in the brain. Credit: Oregon Health & Science University

People for a long time suspected there has to be this push-pull system, said co-author Tianyi Mao, Ph.D., a scientist at the Vollum who happens to be married to Zhong.

Notably, adenosine is also well known as the receptor that caffeine acts upon.

Artificial Intelligence Model Can Detect Parkinsons From Breathing Patterns

Previous imageNext image

Parkinsons disease is notoriously difficult to diagnose as it relies primarily on the appearance of motor symptoms such as tremors, stiffness, and slowness, but these symptoms often appear several years after the disease onset. Now, Dina Katabi, the Thuan and Nicole Pham Professor in the Department of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science at MIT and principal investigator at MIT Jameel Clinic, and her team have developed an artificial intelligence model that can detect Parkinsons just from reading a persons breathing patterns.

The tool in question is a neural network, a series of connected algorithms that mimic the way a human brain works, capable of assessing whether someone has Parkinsons from their nocturnal breathing i.e., breathing patterns that occur while sleeping. The neural network, which was trained by MIT PhD student Yuzhe Yang and postdoc Yuan Yuan, is also able to discern the severity of someones Parkinsons disease and track the progression of their disease over time.

Over the years, researchers have investigated the potential of detecting Parkinsons using cerebrospinal fluid and neuroimaging, but such methods are invasive, costly, and require access to specialized medical centers, making them unsuitable for frequent testing that could otherwise provide early diagnosis or continuous tracking of disease progression.

Read Also: Are Hallucinations Part Of Parkinson’s

What Is Parkinsons Disease

Parkinsons disease is movement disorder of the nervous system that worsens over time. As nerve cells in parts of the brain weaken or are damaged or die, people may begin to notice problems with movement, tremor, stiffness in the limbs or the trunk of the body, or impaired balance. As these symptoms become more obvious, people may have difficulty walking, talking, or completing other simple tasks. Not everyone with one or more of these symptoms has PD, as the symptoms appear in other diseases as well.

No cure for PD exists today, but research is ongoing and medications or surgery can often provide substantial improvement with motor symptoms.

How Can People Cope With Parkinsons Disease

Bbc News Parkinson

While PD usually progresses slowly, eventually daily routines may be affectedfrom socializing with friends to earning a living and taking care of a home. These changes can be difficult to accept. Support groups can help people cope with the diseases emotional impact. These groups also can provide valuable information, advice, and experience to help people with PD, their families, and their caregivers deal with a wide range of issues, including locating doctors familiar with the disease and coping with physical limitations. A list of national organizations that can help people locate support groups in their communities appears at the end of this information. Individual or family counseling may also help people find ways to cope with PD.

People with PD may also benefit from being proactive and finding out as much as possible about the disease in order to alleviate fear of the unknown and to take a positive role in maintaining their health. Many people with PD continue to work either full- or part-time, although they may need to adjust their schedule and working environment to accommodate their symptoms.

Read Also: How Does A Doctor Diagnose Parkinson’s Disease

Former Bbc Presenter Mark Mardell Reveals Parkinsons Diagnosis

The broadcaster previously served as BBC Newss Europe and North America editor and hosted The World This Weekend on BBC Radio 4

ormer BBC presenter Mark Mardell has revealed he has been diagnosed with Parkinsons disease.

The 65-year-old previously served as BBC Newss Europe and North America editor and hosted The World This Weekend on BBC Radio 4.

And Im getting used to being the quietest person in the room rather than the loudest.

But generally its in the stage of just being annoying rather than anything terrible.

Parkinsons Disease Symptoms Reversed By Mini Implant Trial Suggests

A hospital in Bristol is believed to be the first in the world to implant the smallest device into a brain to reverse the symptoms of Parkinsons disease.

Southmead Hospital surgeons used a tiny deep brain stimulation device to override abnormal brain-cell firing patterns caused by Parkinsons.

Tony Howells, the first person to receive the treatment as part of a trial, said the impact was amazing.

Twenty-five patients have been selected for the trial that concludes next year.

Mr Howells, who had the operation in 2019, said: Before the operation I went for a walk on Boxing Day with my wife and I got 200 yards from the actual car.

I had to turn around and go back because I just couldnt walk.

Then after the operation, which was 12 months later, I went on Boxing Day again and we went for 2.5 miles and we couldve went further.

It was amazing, he added.

Currently there is no cure for Parkinsons disease, which leads to parts of the brain becoming progressively damaged over years.

Symptoms include involuntary shaking of parts of the body, slow movement and stiff and inflexible muscles.

Most people develop symptoms when they are over 50 but about 5% of sufferers first experience symptoms when they are under 40.

Traditional operations for Parkinsons involve implanting a fairly large battery into the chest with wires run under the skin through to the top of the head.

It then delivers electrical impulses directly to targeted areas of the brain.

Don’t Miss: Will Parkinson’s Disease Kill You

Seth Macfarlane To Host 2nd Annual Breakthrough Prize Ceremony On November 9 Honoring Worlds Foremost Scientists

Discovery Channel And Science Channel To Simulcast Premiere Gala On November 15 In The U.S.

BBC World News To Air Worldwide Weekend Of November 22.

Presenters to Include Kate Beckinsale, Benedict Cumberbatch, Cameron Diaz, John Hamm and Eddie Redmayne.

San Francisco, CA, October 29 Honoring the worlds top scientists and mathematicians, the 2nd Annual Breakthrough Prize Ceremony will be hosted by Seth MacFarlane. The special, produced again by the Emmy Award-winning Don Mischer Productions, will be televised in the U.S. as a simulcast on Discovery Channel and Science Channel on November 15 at 6 PM ET/PT and globally the weekend of November 22 on BBC World News.

The Breakthrough Prize, which awards each laureate in Fundamental Physics, Life Sciences and Mathematics $3 million with a total awarded amount of $36 million, is sponsored by Breakthrough Prize Founders Sergey Brin and Anne Wojcicki, Jack Ma and Cathy Zhang, Yuri and Julia Milner and Mark Zuckerberg and Priscilla Chan. The goal is to celebrate scientists and generate excitement about the pursuit of science as a career.

The exclusive ceremony, co-hosted by the Breakthrough Prize founders and Vanity Fair editor Graydon Carter, will take place in Silicon Valley on November 9.

Award presenters include Kate Beckinsale, Benedict Cumberbatch, Cameron Diaz, Jon Hamm and Eddie Redmayne.

Parkinsons Test: Woman Who Smelled Disease On Husband Helps Scientists

Being part of an ambitious Parkinson’s cure trial – BBC Stories

Woman who can smell Parkinson’s helps researchers create swab test

A Scottish woman who found she could detect Parkinson’s through smell has inspired scientists to develop a swab test that could be used to diagnose it.

Researchers in Manchester have created a new method which they say can detect the disease in three minutes.

Further study will be required to validate the findings before they can develop a diagnostic test that could be used in clinics or by GPs.

Their work was inspired by Joy Milne, a retired nurse from Perth.

Joy, 72, knew her husband Les had Parkinson’s more than 12 years before he was diagnosed when she identified a change in the way he smelled.

“He had this musty rather unpleasant smell especially round his shoulders and the back of his neck and his skin had definitely changed,” she said.

She only linked the odour to the disease after Les was diagnosed and they met people at a Parkinson’s UK support group who had the same distinctive smell. Les died in June 2015.

Now a team in the University of Manchester, working with Joy, has developed a simple skin-swab test which they claim is 95% accurate under laboratory conditions when it comes to telling whether people have Parkinson’s.

The researchers analysed sebum – the oily substance on skin – which was collected by using a cotton swab on patients’ backs, an area where it is less often washed away.

“We would have spent more time with family,” she said.

Don’t Miss: How Does Age Affect Parkinson’s Disease

What Genes Are Linked To Parkinsons Disease

Several genes have been definitively linked to PD:

  • SNCA. This gene, which makes the protein alpha-synuclein, was the first gene identified to be associated with Parkinsons. Research findings by the National Institutes of Health and other institutions prompted studies of the role of alpha-synuclein in PD, which led to the discovery that Lewy bodies seen in all cases of PD contain clumps of alpha-synuclein. This discovery revealed the link between hereditary and sporadic forms of the disease.
  • LRRK2. Mutations in LRRK2 were originally identified in several English and Basque families as a cause of a late-onset PD. Subsequent studies have identified mutations of this gene in other families with PD as well as in a small percentage of people with apparently sporadic PD. LRRK2 mutations are a major cause of PD in North Africa and the Middle East.
  • DJ-1. This gene normally helps regulate gene activity and protect cells from oxidative stress and can cause rare, early forms of PD.
  • PRKN . The parkin gene is translated into a protein that normally helps cells break down and recycle proteins.
  • PINK1. PINK1 codes for a protein active in mitochondria. Mutations in this gene appear to increase susceptibility to cellular stress. PINK1 has been linked to early forms of PD.
  • GBA . Mutations in GBA cause Gaucher disease , but different changes in this gene are associated with an increased risk for Parkinsons disease as well.

You May Like: Do Tremors Come And Go With Parkinsons

Scientists Take The Next Step In Understanding The Role It Plays In The Disease

There are currently no disease modifying therapies for Parkinsons disease available that can alter the course of the disease. Researchers from the University of Colorado Anschutz Medical Campus are leading a group of experts from across the world who are attempting to change that.

Recently, they published a new study in the journal Brain that brings scientists one step closer to comprehending a crucial protein called -synuclein , which they discovered connects inflammation and Parkinsons disease.

The protein Syn is mostly expressed in neurons and has been linked to neurodegenerative diseases such as Parkinsons disease and Lewy body dementia. This new study identifies a new mechanism linking interferon activation and Syn function in neurons as a possible trigger for Parkinsons disease development.

Its critical to understand further the triggers that contribute to the development of Parkinsons disease and how inflammation may interact with proteins found in the disease. With this information, we could potentially provide new approaches for treatments by altering or interfering with these inflammatory pathways that may act as a trigger for the disease, said David Beckham, MD, associate professor in the department of infectious disease at the University of Colorado School of Medicine located on the CU Anschutz Medical Campus.

This study establishes the first clear link between inflammation and Syn, a protein connected to the development of Parkinsons disease.

Don’t Miss: Can Parkinson’s Cause Heart Problems

Diet And Lifestyle Changes

Additional therapies for Parkinsons disease treatment include eating a healthy diet and engaging in regular exercise.

Some individuals may benefit from participating in physical and occupational therapy. These therapies often focus on balance, improving your gait, or tactics to allow you to complete your work.

Other alternative options center on promoting holistic well-being while living with Parkinsons disease. These are not shown to stop the diseases progression but can help you manage symptoms and stay hopeful:

You May Like: Mayo Clinic Parkinsons Research

A New Era For Parkinsons Disease Treatment

Bbc News Parkinson

A non-invasive ultrasound treatment for Parkinsons disease that was tested in a pivotal trial led by University of Maryland School of Medicine researchers is now broadly available at the University of Maryland Medical Center .

Howard Eisenberg, MD, Dheeraj Gandhi, MD, MBBS, Paul Fishman, MD, PhD, Bert W. OMalley, MD.

The device, called Exablate Neuro, was approved in November by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to treat advanced Parkinsons disease on one side of the brain. The approval was based on findings from the UMSOM clinical trial and effectively expands access to focused ultrasound beyond clinical trial participation.

Rapid Reversal of Symptoms

Focused ultrasound is an incisionless procedure, performed without the need for anesthesia or an in-patient stay in the hospital. Patients, who are fully alert, lie in a magnetic resonance imaging scanner, wearing a transducer helmet. Ultrasonic energy is targeted through the skull to the globus pallidus, a structure deep in the brain that helps control regular voluntary movement. MRI images provide doctors with a real-time temperature map of the area being treated. During the procedure, the patient is awake and providing feedback, which allows doctors to monitor the immediate effects of the tissue ablation and make adjustments as needed.

Patient: Focused Ultrasound Changed My Life

A New Era for Parkinsons Disease Treatment

Don’t Miss: Interesting Facts About Parkinsons Disease

New Study Shows Clinical Symptoms For Alzheimers Can Be Predicted In Preclinical Models

10 November 2022

Establishing preclinical models of Alzheimers that reflect in-life clinical symptoms of each individual is a critically important goal, yet so far it has not been fully realised. A new collaborative study from the University of Oxford has demonstrated that clinical vulnerability to an abnormally abundant protein in Alzheimers brain is in fact reflected in individual patient induced pluripotent stem cell-derived cortical neurons.

What Causes Parkinson’s Disease

Parkinson’s Disease is caused by a loss of nerve cells in the brain. This loss of nerve cells within the brain results in a reduced amount of dopamine being created which acts as a messenger between the parts of your brain that control voluntary and involuntary movement. Therefore without that vital connection, your brain starts losing the ability to effectively control movement. Currently, it is unknown what causes the deterioration of nerve cells associated with Parkinson’s Disease . Currently, it is believed that both environmental factors, as well as genetic factors, may play a role in the loss of nerve cells.

Parkinson’s Disease is a lifelong condition that can greatly impair the ability of one’s daily functions. Traditional treatments only address the symptoms of the condition, but researchers are excited about the possibilities of certain gene therapies and stem cell therapy, which may have the ability to reverse damage and halt the progression of the disease.

Don’t Miss: Can Parkinson’s Cause Pain

Studies Show Promising Results

“Considering the ability of MSCs to secrete neurotrophic factors, modulate inflammation, and possibly even act as mitochondria âdonorâ, it comes as no surprise that there is a lot of interest in the use of MSCs in the treatment of Parkinsons Disease, and a multitude of animal studies has shown promise. Treatments have resulted in improvement of motor function, protection of the nigrostriatal system, and improved striatal dopamine release in several studies using toxic lesion rodent models of Parkinsons Disease. Similar effects were reported with umbilical cord-derived MSCs with or without prior differentiation. For example, a recent study reported improvement of motor function, reduced microglial activation, and decreased loss of TH immunoreactivity, associated with local production of trophic factors.

Learn more about DVC Stem’s protocol for Parkinson’s Disease here:


Venkataramana, N. K., Kumar, S. K. V., Balaraju, S., Radhakrishnan, R. C., Bansal, A., Dixit, A., ⦠Totey, S. M. . Open-labeled study of unilateral autologous bone-marrow-derived mesenchymal stem cell transplantation in Parkinson’s disease. Retrieved from https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S1931524409002205#!

Unified Parkinson’s Disease Rating Scale. . Retrieved from https://www.sciencedirect.com/topics/medicine-and-dentistry/unified-parkinsons-disease-rating-scale

About the author

What Are Mesenchymal Stem Cells

The woman who can smell Parkinson’s disease – BBC News

Stem cells are the body’s raw materials â cells from which all other cells with specialized functions are created. Mesenchymal stem cells are adult stem cells that have self-renewal, immunomodulatory, anti-inflammatory, signaling, and differentiation properties. Mesenchymal stem cells , self renewal capacity is characterized by their ability to divide and develop into multiple specialized cell types present in a specific tissue or organ.

Mesenchymal stem cells can be sourced from a variety of tissue including adipose tissue , bone marrow, umbilical cord tissue, blood, liver, dental pulp, and skin.

MSCs are widely used in the treatment of various diseases due to their self-renewable, differentiation, anti-inflammatory, and immunomodulatory properties. In-vitro and in-vivo studies have supported the understanding mechanisms, safety, and efficacy of MSC therapy in clinical applications.

Recommended Reading: Brain Changes In Parkinson’s Disease


Popular Articles