By Tony Winterburn • 10 February 2021 • 10:19
Scientists Take 'Vital Step Forward' In understanding Parkinson's Disease. image: Pexels
Scientists Take ‘Vital Step Forward’ In understanding Parkinson’s Disease And Hopefully A Cure.
Scientists say they have taken a vital step forward in understanding Parkinson’s. The debilitating disease, which affects more than 10 million people globally, has no cure at the moment.
The research team from Cambridge University have published their findings in Nature Communications. The research breaks new ground in understanding the role of a key protein called alpha-synuclein, which is present in the brain and plays a number of important roles, especially at synapses, small gaps between neurons, or nerve cells, that allow them to communicate effectively with each other.
The alpha-synuclein protein causes Parkinson’s disease when it behaves abnormally and forms clumps called Lewy bodies inside neurons causing them to work less effectively and eventually die. The breakthrough is in the understanding of how the protein functions. Scientists had not known how it functions until now and it is this had inhibited treatment.
Dr Giuliana Fusco, Research Fellow at St John’s College, University of Cambridge, and lead author of the paper, said: “This study could unlock more information about this debilitating neurodegenerative disorder that can leave people unable to walk and talk. If we want to cure Parkinson’s, first we need to understand the function of alpha-synuclein. This research is a vital step towards that goal.”
Celebrities who suffer from Parkinson’s
More than 10 million people worldwide live with Parkinson’s disease, including musician Ozzy Osbourne, comedian Sir Billy Connolly and actor Michael J. Fox, who was diagnosed at the early age of 29. The legendary boxer Muhammad Ali. Ali was initially diagnosed in 1984, just three short years after he retired from the sport. Evengalist Billy Graham, Singer Linda Ronstadt, Ben Petrick and Charles Schulz to name a few.
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