AANS Neurosurgeon | Volume 26, Number 3, 2017

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Parkinson’s is Partly an Autoimmune Disease, Study Finds

First direct evidence that abnormal protein in Parkinson’s disease triggers immune response 

Researchers have found the first direct evidence that autoimmunity — in which the immune system attacks the body’s own tissues — plays a role in Parkinson’s disease, the neurodegenerative movement disorder. The findings raise the possibility that the death of neurons in Parkinson’s could be prevented by therapies that dampen the immune response. “The idea that a malfunctioning immune system contributes to Parkinson’s dates back almost 100 years,” said study co-leader David Sulzer, PhD, professor of neurobiology (in psychiatry, neurology and pharmacology) at CUMC. “But until now, no one has been able to connect the dots. Our findings show that two fragments of alpha-synuclein, a protein that accumulates in the brain cells of people with Parkinson’s, can activate the T cells involved in autoimmune attacks.”

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Calendar/Courses

8th World Congress of Neuroendoscopy
Nov. 1-4, 2017; Cape Town, South Africa

3rd Annual Selected Topics in Craniomaxillofacial Surgery
Nov. 4, 2017 - Nov. 5, 2017; Boston, Mass.

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