Spanish scientists dismiss  the origins of Parkinson’s 

SCIENTISTS at a Madrid neurobiology laboratory have made a ground-breaking discovery about the origins of Parkinson’s disease, throwing into conjecture, previous assumptions about where the condition starts.

The HM CINAC, or Integral Centre for Neurosciences, says the disease may not, in fact, “spread” to the cerebral cortex as its “final destination”, as has been believed previously.

In fact, this is where it could start, which would explain why Parkinson’s starts off with motor issues, or problems affecting general movement and speech, as well as the body’s outward physical activity.

A neurodegenerative condition, characterised by rigidity, slowness and trembling, although the latter might not always be present, especially in young victims, has been explained, largely, by the death of “black mater” neurons, or nerve sources in the part of the brain, which generates dopamine.

That is a brain chemical, associated with the feeling of being “switched on” and “positive” and an over-firing of what is thought to be behind delusional disorders, such as psychosis and schizophrenia, as well as attention deficit-hyperactivity disorder (ADHD).

The loss of neurons in the dopamine, or “active” and “feel-good” part of the brain, has never been explained, but the HM CINAC scientists believe it is not a localised phenomenon.

Instead, it is a “stage on a more complex, pathological journey which, literally, progresses in a bottom-up direction”.

In layman’s terms, more or less, Dr José A Obeso and Dr Guglielmo Foffani compare the brain with a tree.

“The illness starts in the bottom of the trunk, when it is asymptomatic,” say Foffani and Obeso. “It then rises to about halfway up, when early signs start to show.

“It eventually spreads to the leaves, which is the brain cortex, and that’s when you see the most advanced cases.”

Symptoms most typical of Parkinson’s tend to manifest themselves in a much “localised” or ‘focal’ manner, such as a slow-moving leg or a trembling hand. But the disease may have already been present before any of these occur, say Dr Foffani and Dr Obeso.

The motor area and somatosensory area, responsible for voluntary actions, movements and responses, are the parts of the brain containing “the best and most detailed map of the rest of the body”.

These could be the parts that suppress vulnerable, dopamine-transmitting neurons, and cause them to degenerate.

“This theory is disruptive in terms of existing beliefs about the origin of Parkinson’s, but it does not necessarily break away from current hypotheses,” says the research paper.

It adds: “Rather, it could coexist with these, and even contribute to developing new, and possibly less-invasive, forms of treatment.”

The HM CINAC team, who consider the discovery to be “very valuable”, have started a series of experiments to falsify their theories.






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Posted by on Oct 5 2018. Filed under Local News. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

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