The progress of Parkinsons disease (PD), or any brain-wasting disease, is painful to watch in oneself or in a loved one. Physicians and researchers are not immune to that pain, but they watch the progression of disease with an eye toward understanding it and, one day, halting or reversing it.
Johannes Schwarz, M.D., and a team of researchers from Germany and Canada reported in the October issue of The Journal of Nuclear Medicine on a study that measured the molecular changes in the brains of PD patients over a 7.5-year time span that began during the early stages of the disease. The study used single photon emission computed tomography (SPECT) to image the loss of dopamine transporter binding. (While the pathology of Parkinsons disease is not completely understood, it is widely believed that the diseases progression is marked by a decline in dopamine transporter binding, part of the brains neurotransmitter circulation system.)
The study demonstrates that it is possible to measure, quantitatively and over a significant period of time, the molecular changes that take place in the brain as it undergoes progressive deterioration.
Maryann Verrillo | EurekAlert!
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