Scientists are finding out more and more about Parkinson’s disease. Most recently, a Canadian team of scientists has discovered what they think could be the possible cause of the disease.
Parkinson’s destroys or impairs important nerve cells in the brain. These cells make a neurochemical called “dopamine.” This substance is essential for controlling muscle movement in the whole body. The lack of dopamine leads to trembling, muscle stiffness, and slow movement. It also causes difficulty maintaining balance, and problems with walking and coordination. You might also have problems speaking or swallowing. These symptoms become worse over time. However, there are treatments for the disease. Research continues into its cause.
On that note, let’s look at the latest news. The study was done at the Ottawa Health Research Institute. The researchers looked at mice with a condition similar to Parkinson’s. The rodents had been given a toxin that affected the “mitochondria” in the cells. The mitochondria are present in all cells, acting as the source of energy. The researchers found that the toxin flicked a switch in the cells that turned off a specific enzyme. The enzyme is called “Prx2.” This then led to the destruction of the dopamine- producing cells. When the scientists reactivated the Prx2 enzyme, the situation was fixed. The same research team also looked at humans with Parkinson’s.
They found that people with the disease also had low levels of Prx2 activity. This means that a treatment that involves turning this enzyme on or increasing its levels could help stave off Parkinson’s. This study could be groundbreaking. There is currently no cure or for the disease. However, there are medications that can really help with the symptoms.
Want to know if you’re at risk for this degenerative disease? Well, let’s review the main risk factors. If you have a relative with Parkinson’s, you’re more likely to develop it yourself. Also, your risk goes up if you’re male, or have been exposed to herbicides or pesticides. In women, reduced estrogen levels could make you more vulnerable.
If you think you’re at risk, ask your doctor. You should also keep an eye out for the symptoms mentioned at the beginning of this article.