Research

Brain Training Decreases Severity of Parkinson’s Freezing of Gait, Study Reports

Brain training reduces the severity and duration of freezing of gait and improves cognition and daytime sleepiness in Parkinson’s patients, a study shows. The study, “Cognitive training for freezing of gait in Parkinson’s disease: a randomized controlled trial,” appeared in the journal npj Parkinson’s Disease. Freezing of gait is a symptom of Parkinson’s disease and occurs when patients temporarily feel as if…

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Scientists Unraveling How Movement is Translated Into Desired Action

The findings of a Harvard University study are furthering understanding of the mechanisms involved in movement disorders and may open new therapeutic opportunities to treat Parkinson’s disease. The mouse study, “The Striatum Organizes 3D Behavior via Moment-to-Moment Action Selection,” was published in the journal Cell. The brain relies on the balanced activity of two nerve cell populations located in a specific region…

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Don’t Judge Me by the Absence of My Smile

Many people aren’t aware of how wide the range of Parkinson’s disease symptoms is. For example, looking at the motor symptoms alone, a patient can have any, or all, of the following: tremors, muscle rigidity, and difficulty walking. One symptom that is not common knowledge outside of the Parkinson’s community is facial masking, also known as a “stone face.” Patients…

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Early Symptoms May Predict Future Psychosis in Parkinson’s Patients, Study Finds

Early sleep-related and autonomic symptoms — related to automatic or involuntary body functions — are associated with an increased risk of future psychotic symptoms in Parkinson’s disease patients, according to a recent study. These symptoms are also associated with a reduction of specific nerve cells in a region of the brain involved in memory, attention, and perception — suggesting these changes could…

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Brain Microglia are Key Protectors Against Prion Diseases, Study Suggests

Microglial cells in the brain play an essential protective role against prion diseases, a new study shows. The findings could have implications for diseases characterized by protein aggregation, such as Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s. The study, “Microglia are critical in host defense against prion disease,” was published in the Journal of Virology. Prion diseases are progressive neurodegenerative disorders that affect humans and…

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Impaired Visual Response to Blue Light May Be Linked to Non-Motor Symptoms

Parkinson’s disease is linked to impaired response of eyes to blue light, a finding that may provide new insights into the mechanisms involved in non-motor symptoms of the disease. The study, “Melanopsin-mediated pupil function is impaired in Parkinson’s disease,” was published in the journal Scientific Reports. Parkinson’s patients often experience sleep disorders and daytime sleepiness. Although it is still unclear what…

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Working Memory Impairment Occurs Before Cognitive Decline, Study Finds

The inability to remember proper sequences of information, such as numbers or events, occurs before cognitive impairment in Parkinson’s patients who have mild motor symptoms, a Chinese study shows. The research “Impaired serial ordering in nondemented patients with mild Parkinson’s disease,” was published in the journal PLOS ONE. The ability to arrange thoughts and actions in an appropriate serial order is…

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Gut Microbes Linked to Progression of Neurodegenerative Disorders, Study Finds

Microorganisms living in the gut can influence the progression of neurodegenerative diseases through two types of brain cells, and understanding more about how they suppress inflammation could lead to new therapies for diseases such as multiple sclerosis (MS) and Parkinson’s, a study found. The research, “Microglial control of astrocytes in response to microbial metabolites,” was published in the journal Nature.…

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