Researchers Suggest New Theory for How Parkinson's Disease Develops
The toxic protein behind Parkinson’s disease may not spread like an infection from nerve cell to nerve, according to a new theory by Technion and Harvard University scientists. Instead, the protein, called alpha-synuclein, may simultaneously affect all parts of the nervous system inside and outside of the brain. Their findings could change how Parkinson’s is treated, the researchers say. Associate professor Simone Engelender of the Technion-Israel Institute of Technology and her colleague Ole Isacson at Harvard Medical School describe this “threshold theory” of Parkinson’s for the first time in this report. “Instead of studying how proteins move from one neuron to another and searching for compounds that prevent the ‘spread’ of aggregated ?-synuclein, we need to study why ?-synuclein accumulates within neurons and how these neurons die in the disease, and search for compounds that prevent the general neuronal dysfunction,” said Professor Engelender.
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