Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Basic research into Parkinson’s

06.05.2004


Parkinson’s disease was first described in 1817 by the London physician James Parkinson. A great amount of research has been carried out since that time but the fundamental causes of the disease remain unresolved. Some time ago now researchers found that a neurotransmitter, dopamine, played a key role in this illness. This is why the majority of treatments used today to counter Parkinson’s increase the level of dopamine in the brain exciting the receptors of this neurotransmitter.

Animal models

Parkinson’s disease affects certain concrete cerebral nuclei in the human brain. These nuclei are the striated and the dark matter, nuclei which are related to the motor system. Parkinson’s disease specifically affects those neurones located between these cerebral nuclei.



So, when animals are used as models in order to analyse the illness, rats for example, lesions appear precisely at the location of these cerebral nuclei. The procedure involves introducing a toxic substance into specific co-ordinates of the rat’s brain, but only into one hemisphere thereof, the other remaining as a control or reference. In other words, so that the Parkinson’s is generated solely on one side of the animal’s brain.

Once the animal has recovered from the operation, after approximately one month, the analyses can begin. On the one hand, the behaviour of the animal is studied and analysed – the visible, external effects and, on the other, the effects of medication. In order to analyse the effects of the medication habitually used to treat the ailment, these medicines are administered and subsequently the electro-physiological activity of the brain is measured, i.e. the activity of the neurones. In this way it is intended to discover the medication most suitable to stop the progress of the disease.

Mild Parkinson’s

By the time Parkinson’s symptoms appear in humans, cerebral lesions are quite serious and the disease passed the point of no return. However, apparently, if the disease is managed to be detected at the early stages and applying a neurone protection treatment, the illness can be halted.

But, in this case, the validity of the medicines used presently is called into question. For example, the effects that the currently most commonly used treatment, levodopa. That is, it is not clear whether levodopa administered in the early stages of Parkinson’s is neuroprotector or neurotoxic. To this end, in order to analyse, amongst other factors, the effects that levodopa produce in the early stages of Parkinson’s, a model of mild Parkinson’s has been developed at the Leioa campus of the University of the Basque Country.

Obtaining rats with mild Parkinson’s is no easy task, given that the exact dose of the toxic substance has to be injected into the animal brain. Once a rat with mild Parkinson’s has been obtained, the usual medicines are administered and the animal monitored to see if there is a differentiated evolution in the disease or not. Thus, according the Leioa investigation, the effect of the medication is totally different depending if the rat is healthy, if it has mild Parkinson’s, or if the disease is advanced.

So, definite conclusions have yet to drawn, Moreover, in the case of Parkinson’s, soon we will have to start dealing with gene therapy or therapeutic cloning, given that these are the future paths to follow in order to counter the disease, according to the experts.

Garazi Andonegi | Basque research
Further information:
http://www.basqueresearch.com/berria_irakurri.asp?Gelaxka=1_1&Berri_Kod=461&hizk=I
http://www.ehu.es

More articles from Health and Medicine:

nachricht Light beam replaces blood test during heart surgery
28.02.2017 | University of Central Florida

nachricht Cells adapt ultra-rapidly to zero gravity
28.02.2017 | Universität Zürich

All articles from Health and Medicine >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Safe glide at total engine failure with ELA-inside

On January 15, 2009, Chesley B. Sullenberger was celebrated world-wide: after the two engines had failed due to bird strike, he and his flight crew succeeded after a glide flight with an Airbus A320 in ditching on the Hudson River. All 155 people on board were saved.

On January 15, 2009, Chesley B. Sullenberger was celebrated world-wide: after the two engines had failed due to bird strike, he and his flight crew succeeded...

Im Focus: Breakthrough with a chain of gold atoms

In the field of nanoscience, an international team of physicists with participants from Konstanz has achieved a breakthrough in understanding heat transport

In the field of nanoscience, an international team of physicists with participants from Konstanz has achieved a breakthrough in understanding heat transport

Im Focus: DNA repair: a new letter in the cell alphabet

Results reveal how discoveries may be hidden in scientific “blind spots”

Cells need to repair damaged DNA in our genes to prevent the development of cancer and other diseases. Our cells therefore activate and send “repair-proteins”...

Im Focus: Dresdner scientists print tomorrow’s world

The Fraunhofer IWS Dresden and Technische Universität Dresden inaugurated their jointly operated Center for Additive Manufacturing Dresden (AMCD) with a festive ceremony on February 7, 2017. Scientists from various disciplines perform research on materials, additive manufacturing processes and innovative technologies, which build up components in a layer by layer process. This technology opens up new horizons for component design and combinations of functions. For example during fabrication, electrical conductors and sensors are already able to be additively manufactured into components. They provide information about stress conditions of a product during operation.

The 3D-printing technology, or additive manufacturing as it is often called, has long made the step out of scientific research laboratories into industrial...

Im Focus: Mimicking nature's cellular architectures via 3-D printing

Research offers new level of control over the structure of 3-D printed materials

Nature does amazing things with limited design materials. Grass, for example, can support its own weight, resist strong wind loads, and recover after being...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Booth and panel discussion – The Lindau Nobel Laureate Meetings at the AAAS 2017 Annual Meeting

13.02.2017 | Event News

Complex Loading versus Hidden Reserves

10.02.2017 | Event News

International Conference on Crystal Growth in Freiburg

09.02.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Light-emitting bubbles captured in the wild

28.02.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

Triboelectric nanogenerators boost mass spectrometry performance

28.02.2017 | Materials Sciences

Calculating recharge of groundwater more precisely

28.02.2017 | Ecology, The Environment and Conservation

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>