It has been a great week to be a brain research nerd interested in cognitive function and disease! Here is a quick re-cap of a few of the recent findings and a link or 2 in case you, like me, just need to know more!
- A Swedish research group studying Parkinson’s Disease (PD), published a break-through study recently in the Public Library of Science (PLoS) One. This research group expanded and verified some facts about how the disease spreads from cell to cell in the brain. This could lead to treatment that might slow the disease progression and keep symptoms at bay! PD, formerly known as shaking palsy, is a progressive disease that is routed in the nervous system and is tied to brain cells that produce the chemical dopamine. There is some great PD research happening all over the world. The hope is to move beyond controlling symptoms to finding the root of disease and a cure.
* Here is a link to the actual research article: http://www.plosone.org/article/info%3Adoi%2F10.1371%2Fjournal.pone.0039465
** Here is a link to a summary of the findings by the organization that helped fund the research:http://www.vai.org/News/News/2012/06_27_ParkinsonsDrug.aspx
- Another research group in a Swedish University is looking at how and why Alzheimer ’s disease (AD) spreads in the brain, leaving a trail of dead neurons and protein build up in its wake. The study sites the discovery of 2 abnormal proteins that seem to build up and contribute to both neuron death and brain shrinkage. “Why they become abnormal is still unknown, but what is known is that it’s not the large accumulations, or plaques, that damage the neurons”, the study states. This new understanding could open new avenues for treatment of disease progression.
* Here is a link to a summary of the research by Linkoping University, the home of the research: http://www.liu.se/forskning/forskningsnyheter/1.352091?l=en
- Dementia is such a key element of many diseases of the brain. It encompasses so many functional qualities that it is really hard to get a handle on how to accurately diagnose the condition. A German researcher with a bit of help from a US based research group found a link between dementia and a malfunctioning immune system. These are the early days in this line of inquiry but further research could lead to diagnostic methods and potentially new treatment methods – both would be a huge leap in the field!
* Here is a link to a summary of the findings in Science Daily:
We are always on the prowl for new discoveries so please pass along any news you see that we might have missed!