Researchers at Aarhus University, Denmark, have drawn up the most detailed 'image of the enemy' to date of one of the body's most important players in the development of Parkinson's disease. This provides much greater understanding of the battle taking place when the disease occurs knowledge that is necessary if we are to understand and treat Parkinsonism. However, it also raises an existential question because part of the conclusion is that we do not live forever!
Parkinson's disease is one of the most common neurological disorders, with about 7000 people suffering from the disease in Denmark alone. There is no cure, and the symptoms continue to get worse. The disease occurs because different nerves in the brain die. These include the nerve cells that form dopamine, which is known as the brain's 'reward substance' and which also helps control our fine motor skills.
A group of researchers from Aarhus University, the University of Southern Denmark (SDU) and the University of Cambridge has just published two studies in the prestigious Journal of the American Chemical Society (JACS) and Angewandte Chemie. These studies provide the best insight to date into the behaviour of a particular protein state that plays an important role in Parkinson's disease. In other words, they have created a detailed image of what is presumed to be the arch enemy we are up against in our understanding of Parkinsonism. It is an advanced antagonist, and one that functions with a considerable degree of unpredictability. "Fighting the enemy is by no means a Sunday outing," say the main authors of the results Professor Daniel Otzen, Aarhus University, and his colleagues Nikolai Lorenzen and Wojciech Paslawski, who recently defended their PhD dissertations on this subject at Aarhus University's Interdisciplinary Nanoscience Centre (iNANO).
Protein aggregation kills nerve cells
Knowledge about what actually takes place in the b
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