Losing sense of smell may indicate Parkinson’s



A tiny particle syringe composed of polymer layers and nanoparticles may provide drug delivery that targets diseased cells without harming the rest of the body, according to a team of chemical engineers. This delivery system could be robust and flexible enough to deliver a variety of substances. “People probably fear the effects of some

Full Post: Tiny particle syringe for drug delivery

Many individuals with Parkinson’s disease are able to recall losing their sense of smell well before the onset of more commonly recognized symptoms such as tremors, impaired dexterity, speech problems, memory loss and decreased cognitive ability.

To determine if a fading sense of smell may signal Parkinson’s, researchers at Northwestern Memorial Hospital and Northwestern University’s Feinberg School of Medicine are participating in a national study to examine the correlation and ascertain whether smell loss presents a tool for early detection of the disease and an opportunity to delay or ultimately prevent more troublesome symptoms.

Nearly one million people in the United States are affected by Parkinson’s disease, which stems from premature aging of dopamine-producing cells in the brain, and the number is likely to grow as the population ages. By the time Parkinson’s disease is detected, most individuals have already experienced a 60 to 70 percent loss of dopamine-producing cells in the brain.

“Very little is known about the early stages of this disease,” says Tanya Simuni, MD, director of Northwestern’s Parkinson’s Disease and Movement Disorders Center and Associate Professor of Neurology at Northwestern University’s Feinberg School of Medicine. “By utilizing smell testing in conjunction with other tests, we hope to develop a system that identifies the presence of Parkinson’s before it develops into problematic symptoms.”

Northwestern is one of 15 sites nationwide and the only center in Illinois to participate in the Parkinson’s Associated Risk Study (PARS), the largest long-term study in the United States of relatives of individuals with Parkinson’s disease. Evaluating 7,500 relatives for three to five years, the study draws from research demonstrating that first-degree family members such as mothers, fathers, siblings or children have a slight increase in their risk to develop the disease. As age has been recognized as the single proven risk factor for the onset of Parkinson’s symptoms, the study will monitor relatives 50 years or older.

PARS study participants will be sent a scratch-and-sniff test accompanied by a brief questionnaire to be completed at home, with possible follow-up through continued questionnaires or evaluation by a local neurologist. Participants may also be contacted for more extensive testing.

“This study presents an enormous opportunity to not only better understand the initial stages of Parkinson’s, but also help future generations,” says Dr. Simuni. “In the future, early detection combined with neuroprotective therapy may pave the way for interventions that slow the progression or even prevent the onset of Parkinson’s disease.”

http://www.nmh.org/

Link




Researchers have identified a stage during dopamine neuron differentiation that may be an ideal time to collect human embryonic stem cells for transplantation to treat Parkinson’s disease, according to data presented at Neuroscience 2008, the 38th annual meeting of the Society for Neuroscience. Lorraine Iacovitti, Ph.D., professor and interim director of the Farber Institute for

Full Post: Researchers identify best time for stem cell collection for Parkinson’s therapy



Maybe you have an 85-year-old grandfather who still whips through the newspaper crossword puzzle every morning or a 94-year-old aunt who never forgets a name or a face. They don’t seem to suffer the ravages of memory that beset most people as they age. Researchers at Northwestern University’s Feinberg School of Medicine wondered if the

Full Post: Seniors with sharp brains reveal first secrets of sharp memory in old age



Parkinson’s disease affects 6.3 million people worldwide. While the disease is recognized for its profound effects on movement, up to 40 percent of Parkinson’s disease patients also develop changes in thought, behavior and judgment. As Parkinson’s disease progresses, patients may experience what is called ‘Parkinson’s Psychosis,’ in which they experience changes in thought, behavior and

Full Post: Parkinson’s disease can also affect changes in thought, behavior and judgment



According to scientists risk takers and drug abusers behave the way they do because their brains are less able to process dopamine. The scientists from Vanderbilt University say that risk-takers and impulsive people, who make New Year’s resolutions face an uphill battle. Such New Year pledges often include being more careful, spending more frugally

Full Post: Risk takers do so because their brains are less able to process dopamine



The University of Rochester Medical Center (URMC) is leading a multi-center clinical research study of a new experimental treatment for Tourette’s syndrome. The study will examine whether or not a drug that alters the chemical activity in the brain can alleviate the symptoms of the disease. Tourette’s syndrome (TS) is a neurological disorder characterized by

Full Post: New experimental treatment for Tourette’s syndrome