Research Now...

We have long known that alpha-synuclein clumps in the brains of people with PD. Are we starting to figure out why? Learn about this and the latest in Parkinson’s disease research from Dr. James Beck.

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Image of alpha-synuclein (Credit-Tim Bartels, Ph.D.)

  The Mystery of Alpha-Synuclein: New Mechanism for Toxicity?  

Why does the protein alpha-synuclein clump in the brain in Parkinson’s disease? A new study from a PDF-funded team led by Dennis Selkoe, M.D., of Brigham and Women’s Hospital, sheds light on this long-time mystery. The study, published June 16 in Nature Communications, suggests a new way of preventing or treating the accumulation of this protein in the brains of people living with Parkinson’s disease.

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  Anti-Malaria Drugs May Hold Promise as Parkinson’s Treatments  

Do anti-malaria drugs have potential for Parkinson’s disease? A study in the July 14 issue of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, says they might. A team led by Kwang-Soo Kim, Ph.D., at Harvard Medical School, screened 1,000 drugs already approved by the US Food and Drug Administration to see if they could activate the protein Nurr1 (implicated in PD). It turns out that two drugs used to treat malaria might have potential as Parkinson’s therapies or might point us toward other promising options.

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  Why Do People with PD Fall?  

For people with PD, is there more to falling than movement difficulties? The answer is yes according to research published in the June 11 online edition of npj Parkinson’s Disease, a journal published through a partnership between PDF and the Nature Publishing Group. The study led by Anette Schrag, M.D., at University College London, United Kingdom, finds that falls in PD are associated with several factors, including motor and nonmotor symptoms. Could treating those nonmotor symptoms help to prevent falls?

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James Beck, Ph.D.,
Vice President of Scientific Affairs,

Parkinson’s Disease Foundation

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