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Inflammation-related Protein Complex a Potential Therapy Target for Parkinson’s, Study Says

Oral administration of a small molecule specifically blocked the activation of a stress-sensing protein complex called the NLRP3 inflammasome and prevented the loss of brain cells, resulting in significantly improved motor function in a mouse model of Parkinson’s disease, a study reports. Findings also revealed that the inflammasome is activated in Parkinson’s patients. “We have used this discovery to develop improved drug candidates and…

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15 CSF Proteins Seen as Possible Biomarkers of Early Parkinson’s Fail at That Task, Study Reports

Proteins in the cerebrospinal fluid that were seen as possible diagnostic biomarkers of Parkinson’s disease cannot serve in this role, because they lack robustness and reproducibility in earlier stages of the disease, a study has found. The study, “Evaluation of cerebrospinal fluid proteins as potential biomarkers for early stage Parkinson’s disease diagnosis,” was published in PLOS One. Parkinson’s is a chronic and…

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We Can Handle the Truth

There’s a saying in the Parkinson’s community that I struggle with: “You don’t die from Parkinson’s.”  I understand that well-meaning people with good intentions make this statement. However, just as a natural disaster may not directly kill its victims, many deaths happen as consequences of an earthquake or hurricane. It’s the same with Parkinson’s disease.   When I was diagnosed…

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Appendix Removal Early in Life Reduces Risk of Developing Parkinson’s, Study Shows

The healthy human appendix contains Parkinson’s disease-related alpha-synuclein aggregates, and removing the organ early in a person’s life reduces the risk of developing the disease, a study has found. The study, “The vermiform appendix impacts the risk of developing Parkinson’s disease,” was published in Science Translational Medicine. The work was led by researchers at the Center for Neurodegenerative Science at…

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Parkinson’s Patients Without Cognitive Impairment Have Normal Life Expectancy, Study Suggests

While patients with some types of parkinsonism have a shorter lifespan, those with Parkinson’s disease without cognitive impairment have a normal life expectancy, a Swedish population-based study suggests. The study, “Early predictors of mortality in parkinsonism and Parkinson disease: A population-based study,” was published in the journal Neurology. Studies have shown that life expectancy for Parkinson’s patients is reduced. However, conflicting data exists…

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Other Things Lewy Bodies Might Do to Our Brains

Editor’s note: This column discusses suicide. Pivotal events in my life have piqued my interest in Lewy bodies. The first event was on March 15, 2015, when my life partner, Steve, killed himself. The second was my diagnosis of Parkinson’s disease in November 2015. My fascination with Lewy bodies (I’ll define them in a bit) began in August 2016 when I watched a documentary…

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The Grouch and T.O.O.T.S.: Dealing with Irritability

Years ago when I was first diagnosed, my partner asked the neurologist, “Is there something we can do about his irritability?” The doctor responded, “I wish I had a dollar for every time a partner made this request.” It seems this is a prevalent issue. In past columns I have addressed scenario looping breakdowns, exaggerated emotions, deep fatigue, bad days, and ugly…

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Benefits of Exercise for Parkinson’s Patients Linked to Increased Dopamine Release, Study Suggests

Engaging in regular exercise can help preserve the motor and non-motor function of Parkinson’s disease patients, most likely as a result of an increased release of dopamine in the brain, a small study suggests. The study, “Habitual Exercisers Versus Sedentary Subjects With Parkinson’s Disease: Multimodal PET and fMRI Study,” was published in the journal Movement Disorders. Exercise has been shown…

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Parkinson’s Foundation to Host, Broadcast Summit for Caregivers in English, Spanish

With a focus on self-care and caregiving, the Parkinson’s Foundation is hosting a free bilingual summit for those who attend to the daily needs of Parkinson’s disease (PD) patients. Called Cumbre Para Cuidadores (Summit for Caregivers), the all-day event Dec. 1 at the Sheraton Grand Phoenix in Phoenix, Arizona, will be broadcast online in English and Spanish to satellite locations nationwide.…

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Middle-Onset Parkinson’s Linked to Impaired Ability to Detect Emotions, Study Finds

Patients with middle-onset Parkinson’s disease have difficulties recognizing negative and neutral emotions, deficits that appear to be even stronger in female patients, a study shows. The study, “Emotion-Specific Affective Theory of Mind Impairment in Parkinson’s Disease,” was published in the journal Scientific Reports. Parkinson’s disease is known to affect the frontal-subcortical circuit, an area responsible for motor and behavioral processes.…

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