Neurology Central

World Parkinson’s Day 2019 – a note from the Editor

Today (11 April) marks World Parkinson’s Day, an annual opportunity to raise awareness of Parkinson’s disease and to work together as a global community to support people living with the disease, including those who care for them and all the researchers working hard to beat the disease.

Here at Neuro Central, we wanted to take this opportunity to share some of the recent research and developments in the field over the course of the year so far, from a groundbreaking trial that directly delivered a drug to the brain, to biomarkers of neuroinflammation in Parkinson’s disease. Take a look below for our research highlights from the year so far.

You can also find out more about World Parkinson’s Day by following the hashtags on Twitter: #WorldParkinsonsDay and #ParkinsonsIs.

The year so far in Parkinson’s research

Groundbreaking trial offers hope for restoring damaged cells

To kick-start this year, a pioneering clinical trials program hit the headlines for Parkinson’s disease, whereby an experimental treatment was developed to get GDNF directly to the brain cells that require it. Within the study, 41 participants underwent robot-assisted surgery to have four tubes carefully placed into their brains, which allowed GDNF to be infused directly to the affected brain areas with pinpoint accuracy.

The researchers indicated that there were encouraging signs of improvement in those receiving GDNF, however, there was no significant difference between the treatment and placebo groups on any assessments. Despite this, the team have indicated that results from brain scans revealed extremely promising effects on damaged brain cells.

Click here to read more about this news story.

Biomarkers of neuroinflammation

Neuroinflammation has been a huge hot topic in the field of neurodegenerative diseases recently, with multiple conferences focusing on this theme as well. However, the question remains whether this inflammatory process is directly involved in the etiology of Parkinson’s disease, or if it’s a consequence.

We had the pleasure of working with Abcam (MA, USA) towards the end of last year, where we filmed their seminar on ‘Biomarkers of neuroinflammation in Parkinson’s disease’ to find out more about the role of neuroinflammation in Parkinson’s. In addition to this, we also took a peek at data that utilized the FirePlex® platform for multiplex quantitation of neuroinflammatory biomarkers in Parkinson’s disease patient samples.

You can catch up on the seminar and find out more here.

The appendix as a starting point for disease

Over the last couple of years, there have been increasing numbers of studies suggesting that the gut microbiome can influence the brain. In the case of Parkinson’s disease, researchers from the Van Andel Institute (MI, USA) revealed that the appendix may act as a reservoir for disease-associated proteins related to Parkinson’s disease.

In light of this, we recently spoke to study author Viviane Labrie (Van Andel Institute) at the AD/PD™ Congress (26–30 March 2019, Lisbon, Portugal) to find out more about their research on this. Labrie told us more about the trial, challenges and next steps that they are planning to take – keep your eyes peeled for this to be published soon!

Further headlines from the last year

I hope that you’ve enjoyed our selection of content from the year so far. We’re very much looking forward to continuing to bring updates from across the field to those researching, living with and fighting Parkinson’s disease.

You can also take a look at our highlights from World Parkinson’s Day last year here.

My best wishes,

Sharon Salt
Editor, Neuro Central

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