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29 March 2016

Are Stem-Cell Therapies for Parkinson’s Disease Ready for Clinical Trials?

As stem cell-based therapies are moving rapidly towards clinical trials, treatments for Parkinson’s Disease (PD), an incurable condition, may be on the horizon. A recent announcement of a Phase I/IIa clinical trial involving transplantation of stem cells into the first human subjects has raised hope among patients and sparked discussions in the research community. In a commentary published in the Journal of Parkinson’s Disease, authors propose five key questions that should be addressed as this trial begins.

18 March 2016

'Slow thinking' a conversation stopper for people with Parkinson's

Cognitive impairment could affect the conversational ability of people with Parkinson’s more than physical speech problems - according to research from the University of East Anglia (UEA) and the University of Aberdeen.

A new study published today is the first to assess the extent to which a patient’s ability to think quickly forms a barrier to communication – rather than experiencing physical speech problems.

17 February 2016

Researchers Identify Biomarker for Early Cognitive Decline in Parkinson’s Disease Patients

Many patients with Parkinson’s Disease (PD) develop mild cognitive impairment (MCI) or dementia. Identifying biomarkers for cognitive impairment could be instrumental in facilitating both early diagnosis of MCI and developing new cognitive-enhancing treatments. New research published in the Journal of Parkinson’s Disease indicates that lower concentrations of α-synuclein in cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) is associated with reduced performance on several cognitive tests.

8 January 2016

Researchers Face Potential Danger from Protein Particles in the Lab

Lewy bodies and Lewy neurites are found in the brains of Parkinson’s disease (PD) patients. They consist primarily of fibrils of the protein alpha-synuclein (α-Syn), which self-assembles into fibrils in vitro. If introduced into the human body, these seeds can act as prions and trigger the formation of toxic protein deposits. Because α-Syn fibrils are often used in research, it is important that they are not accidentally transferred to humans or cell cultures. Researchers reporting in the Journal of Parkinson’s Disease describe three cleaning procedures that effectively remove and disassemble these α-synuclein seeds.

4 January 2016

Use of Anticholinergic Drugs Does Not Increase Risk for Dementia in Parkinson’s Disease Patients

Recent evidence has shown a greater risk of dementia, in particular Alzheimer’s disease (AD), in individuals using anticholinergic medications regularly. These drugs are widely used by older adults to treat bladder dysfunction, mood, and pain, and many of them are available without prescription. Since these drugs are often used to treat both motor symptoms and non-motor symptoms in patients with Parkinson’s Disease (PD), there is concern for increased risk of dementia. Contrary to expectations, a study in the current issue of the Journal of Parkinson’s Disease determined that the cognitive performance of PD patients taking anticholinergic medications did not differ from those who did not.

10 November 2015

Gaucher Disease May Protect Against Parkinson’s Disease-Related Color Visual Impairment

Parkinson’s Disease (PD) patients have a five-fold greater risk of carrying genetic mutations in the β-glucocerebrosidase gene (GBA), which are commonly associated with Gaucher disease (GD). Patients with both PD and GD tend to experience earlier onset of PD and more serious cognitive changes than PD patients without the mutations. A new study published in the Journal of Parkinson’s Disease suggests that GD or the presence of GBA mutations may actually shield patients from deficiency in visual color discrimination, which is a hallmark of PD.

21 October 2015

Jon Palfreman's new book: Brain Storms: The Race to Unlock the Mysteries of Parkinson’s Disease

The Journal of Parkinson’s Disease is proud to announce the publication of Media Editor Jon Palfreman’s newest book: “Brain Storms: The Race to Unlock the Mysteries of Parkinson’s Disease”, a long-overdue, riveting detective story of the race to stop or reverse neurodegenerative conditions like Parkinson's disease, and a passionate, insightful account into the lives of those affected.

24 June 2015

New Study Calls for Partnering of Parkinson’s Disease Research Community with Patient Groups to Improve Effectiveness of Clinical Trials

Despite an urgent need for new medications, clinical trials in Parkinson’s disease (PD) have a relatively low rate of success. The reasons for this are complex, prompting a group of investigators from PD advocacy groups to conduct a survey of the principle stakeholders, PD scientists, patients, and caregivers, to determine some of the underlying barriers. Their results are published in the Journal of Parkinson’s Disease.

24 June 2015

What Is the Role of the Gut Microbiome in Developing Parkinson’s Disease?

Gut Microbiota Interactions Chart

In recent years, an important Parkinson’s disease (PD) research focus has been on gut-related pathology, pathophysiology, and symptoms. Gastrointestinal dysfunction, in particular constipation, affects up to 80% of PD patients and idiopathic constipation is one of the strongest risk-factors for PD. Lifestyle factors such as smoking and coffee consumption, as well as blood urate levels, have been associated with a decreased PD risk.

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