A big advancement in the fight against Parkinson’s disease was just announced. Researchers recently found that they could eliminate the symptoms of Parkinson’s in mice with just a single treatment, and that the effect that it had on the overall health of these lab animals was lasting.
A gene called PTB has long been associated with Parkinson’s. When this gene was inhibited in mice, researchers found that astrocytes–a cell associated with support in the brain–were converted into neurons. Those neurons were able to produce more dopamine, and as a result, the symptoms of Parkinson’s began to be reduced, or even go away in some cases. This involved just a single treatment, and the results were incredibly effective.
The technique is quite complex. PTB has been known to bind with RNA, which creates a kind of “on/off” phenomenon within the brain. When PTB binds with RNA and Parkinson’s is present, the hallmark symptoms associated with the disease become worse and worse. This includes shakiness, tremors, slow or difficult speech, and stiffness, to name a few. There’s no cure for the disease, but there are treatments available that have been shown to help improve quality of life and reduce the severity of the symptoms.
With these things in mind, scientists looked to see if preventing PTB from binding with RNA could have an impact on the symptoms of Parkinson’s. In mice models, they found that it had a surprisingly long lasting impact.
The team published their findings earlier in June in the journal, Nature. It’s hoped that this can lead to even bigger advances in the fight against the disease.
Now, this does not mean that Parkinson’s has been cured. It also doesn’t mean that this treatment is available for people. In a best case scenario, we are still a few years away from this being available for use within human populations. The downside is that this research is still in its earliest stages and that a treatment for people might never be available. Even if this is the case, scientists are much closer to understanding the intricacies of this devastating disease. If it doesn’t lead to a cure or more effective treatment, it will undoubtedly steer the future of research for this disease and help influence how others approach handling better treatments.
Additionally, the mice that were experimented on didn’t actually have Parkinson’s. Researchers mimicked the disease by blocking dopamine production within the brain. The symptoms that were created in the mice were identical to Parkinson’s, but it isn’t quite the same. As mentioned earlier, there is still a lot of work that needs to be done here.
Regardless, having a team of caregivers, doctors, and other professionals on your side when you have a disease like Parkinson’s is important. We have seen some huge advances come along to help, but having skilled people on your side will remain important indefinitely. When someone struggles because of Parkinson’s or something else, knowing that they are in good hands is important.
Let us know if we can help. One of our trained caregivers would be honored to help you go over your senior care options and walk you through the process of beginning. We want to ensure everyone that we work with that we are doing everything we can to ensure that they have the best care possible.