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Author Topic: Possible Parkinson's trigger ID'd  (Read 1699 times)
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2NJSons_Mom
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« on: January 03, 2008, 11:12:14 AM »

Possible Parkinson's trigger identified

By Michael Kahn
1 hour, 27 minutes ago
 


LONDON (Reuters) - A glitch in the way cells clear damaged proteins could be the trigger for the symptoms of Parkinson's disease, researchers said in a finding that could lead to new treatments for the incurable condition.

 
The U.S. team focused on a process called autophagy in which cells digest and recycle damaged molecules, including proteins, that develop as cells grow older. This system essentially renews cells to keep them functioning properly.

This mechanism is also important for nerve cells in the brain where defective proteins can kill cells and cause the debilitating symptoms of Parkinson's, such as tremors, said Ana Maria Cuervo, a cell biologist who led the study.

"We have found in Parkinson's there are problems in removing abnormal proteins," said Cuervo of the Albert Einstein College of Medicine of Yeshiva University.

The finding could potentially lead to drugs to treat the symptoms but not cure the disease, which affects more than a million patients in the United States alone and is marked by the death of brain cells that produce dopamine.

Dopamine is a neurotransmitter, or message-carrying chemical, associated with movement.

Cuervo had previously shown how mutant forms of a protein called alpha-synuclein -- found in a tiny percentage of Parkinson's patients -- blocked the breakdown of substances and prevented cells from clearing damaged proteins.

In the study in The Journal of Clinical Investigation on Wednesday, the team showed how in the majority of patients dopamine modifies normal proteins to act like the mutated ones to trigger tremors and other symptoms.

"What we have found is dopamine modifies alpha-synuclein that really resembles the mutation," Cuervo said. "That is why they have the same symptoms."

Problems in this process have also been linked with other neurodegenerative conditions such as Alzheimer's and Huntington's disease, though the specific mechanisms that cause problems in those conditions are different, she said.

Cuervo said a drug to fix the breakdown in Parkinson's patients was years away because it would take researchers time to understand fully how the process worked.

"This is not something that is going to lead to a treatment tomorrow," she said. "The hope is within five years we can get companies to find a drug able to activate this system."

(Reporting by Michael Kahn; Editing by Julie Steenhuysen and Robert Woodward)

http://news.yahoo.com/s/nm/20080103/sc_nm/parkinsons_protein_dc
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« Reply #1 on: January 12, 2008, 07:05:46 AM »

Such great things happening in this field.  My pediatrician had Parkinson's.  Used to creep me out because I couldn't understand him.  His wife was also his nurse.  She knew exactly what he was saying.  Bless his heart.  He was a nice man and a good doctor but it was scary not to be able to tell what he was saying.  I can still see his face in my mind and his office, everything. 

Huntington's could use a big old break too.  What a devastating disease.  I started second grade and met a little girl who lived on the next block from me.  We were in the same class many years in a row.  Junior high, high school, college (for me).  I went to her wedding with my mother who had also known her since we were second graders together.  Later, as is often the case, I moved across the country and we lost touch.   

I remember seeing her mother when I was maybe in second or third grade and she was still at home.  She had Huntington's. Eventually, the mother was moved into long term care.  Nothing else you can do.  It's a death sentence, period.  So the father raised his four girls.  Two of them died from Huntington's, my friend and her sister.  They ended up in the same nursing home where their mother had died years earlier.  They shared a room.  They died there too.  Their worst fears from childhood haunted them their entire lives.  Those girls knew from watching their mother and their aunt (mom's sister) suffer and die from HC how their story would end.  I knew too. 

My family didn't tell me for the longest time that they had both died.  Finally, I asked my SIL.  We all grew up together.  We've known each other since second grade.  The sisters were one year apart so we all hung out together.  I wish I knew how the two younger girls fared.  Or maybe I really don't.  I just know I will always have a soft spot in my heart for Huntingtons and Parkinson's having seen it up close and personal.     

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« Reply #2 on: January 12, 2008, 12:00:48 PM »

I'm with you, Peaches.  We bought our home from a couple who had no children...they held the mortgage.  She later was diagnosed with Parkinson's and they sold their home and moved to an assisted living in South Jersey.  His sister, my neighbor, told me his wife no longer knows him, but he carries on while caring for her & volunteering. 

My uncle, who was a priest, was diagnosed with Parkinson's also.  His duties were gradually taken away from him because, as you've described, his voice was getting softer & harder to understand.  He died in an assisted living set up for retired priests.  He was a wonderful uncle and outstanding person and priest.

A cousin of my Dad's married into a family where Huntington's had afflicted sons, so it was thought it was X linked.  Her husband later developed the disease...they had two daughters.  The oldest married and had two children and the younger married but decided not to....the older sister developed the disease and passed away in a nursing facility.  I lost touch, but often think of her kids....the younger sister never had the disease, but is fighting ovarian cancer, which I just found out recently.

When you know first hand, it does stand out.....I'm forever hopeful that new research will find cures for these diseases, including the retinal disease I was dealt in the genetic crap shoot from my Mom's side. 

Hope you are feeling well, my friend.
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R.I.P Dear 2NJ - say hi to Peaches for us!

I expect a miracle _Peaches ~ ~ May She Rest In Peace.

SOMEONE KNOWS THE TRUTH  

None of us here just fell off the turnip truck. - Magnolia
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