Scientists have long noted that people suffering from Parkinsons disease commonly exhibit a specific personality type characterized by, among other things, a lower-than-average tendency to seek out new experiences. In explanation, investigators suggested that this trait was rooted in an inability to reap the pleasurable rewards of increased dopamine levels normally brought about by new stimuli because the disease destroys the neurotransmitter. Previous studies of personality and dopamine activity in Parkinsons patients involved subjects receiving treatment for their disease. Now, for the first time, scientists have examined the link between personality and Parkinsons in patients yet to receive medication. The report, published in the current issue of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences indicates that, in fact, dopamine is not involved in regulating the low-novelty-seeking trait associated with Parkinsons.
Valtteri Kaasinen of the University of Turku in Finland and colleagues studied 61 patients who had been diagnosed with Parkinsons within the past five years but were not taking medication and compared them to a control group of 45 healthy subjects. Using personality questionnaires, the scientists compared traits such as novelty seeking and harm avoidance between the two groups. Unlike previously reported studies involving medicated patients, the correlation between low novelty seeking and Parkinsons was not highly significant. The authors suggest the previously demonstrated link may have been due in part to the medication administered to treat the disease. Parkinsons patients did, however, score significantly higher than control subjects for the harm avoidance personality trait, often associated with anxiety and depression. But the authors note that this trait is not disease-specific and "possibly reflects a psychological response to a chronic disease."
The team next investigated the explicit role of dopamine in mediating the personality of a Parkinsons patient. Using positron emission tomography (PET), the scientists studied the uptake of radioactively labeled L-DOPA (a precursor to dopamine) in the brains of 47 of the Parkinsons patients. Participants with high scores for harm avoidance demonstrated increased uptake of L-DOPA in the brains right caudate region. But patients with low scores for novelty seeking did not show a similar reaction to L-DOPA. "Although the results of this study are not in disagreement with the concept of low-novelty-seeking personality type in Parkinsons disease," the authors conclude, "the personality type does not seem to be dopamine dependent."
Sarah Graham | Scientific American
Malaria Already Endemic in the Mediterranean by the Roman Period
27.07.2017 | Universität Zürich
Serious children’s infections also spreading in Switzerland
26.07.2017 | Universitätsspital Bern
Physicists working with researcher Oriol Romero-Isart devised a new simple scheme to theoretically generate arbitrarily short and focused electromagnetic fields. This new tool could be used for precise sensing and in microscopy.
Microwaves, heat radiation, light and X-radiation are examples for electromagnetic waves. Many applications require to focus the electromagnetic fields to...
Strong light-matter coupling in these semiconducting tubes may hold the key to electrically pumped lasers
Light-matter quasi-particles can be generated electrically in semiconducting carbon nanotubes. Material scientists and physicists from Heidelberg University...
Fraunhofer IPA has developed a proximity sensor made from silicone and carbon nanotubes (CNT) which detects objects and determines their position. The materials and printing process used mean that the sensor is extremely flexible, economical and can be used for large surfaces. Industry and research partners can use and further develop this innovation straight away.
At first glance, the proximity sensor appears to be nothing special: a thin, elastic layer of silicone onto which black square surfaces are printed, but these...
3-D shape acquisition using water displacement as the shape sensor for the reconstruction of complex objects
A global team of computer scientists and engineers have developed an innovative technique that more completely reconstructs challenging 3D objects. An ancient...
Physicists have developed a new technique that uses electrical voltages to control the electron spin on a chip. The newly-developed method provides protection from spin decay, meaning that the contained information can be maintained and transmitted over comparatively large distances, as has been demonstrated by a team from the University of Basel’s Department of Physics and the Swiss Nanoscience Institute. The results have been published in Physical Review X.
For several years, researchers have been trying to use the spin of an electron to store and transmit information. The spin of each electron is always coupled...
26.07.2017 | Event News
21.07.2017 | Event News
19.07.2017 | Event News
27.07.2017 | Life Sciences
27.07.2017 | Life Sciences
27.07.2017 | Health and Medicine