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New Advancements



Several new advancements in research are worth highlighting for the month of October. Globally there have been several researches in US, Europe, Asia and Australia that are potentially very important.


Some of the researchers were involved in corelating Covid-19 and risk of Parkinson’s Disease. This may potentially help us in understanding possible impact of Covid-19 on the brain, especially if we go by the inflammatory response of the brain to Covid-19 infections.


Some researches focused on importance of early treatment of Parkinson’s Disease as it may help in long term management of disease better, while others focused on epigenetic marks on 200 genes due to onset of PD. In fact, the important revelation is that the disease impacts men and women almost completely differently as it is were different diseases! Some other scientists from China researched on the visual problems faced by patients of PD. They found that visual problems and cognitive impairment go hand-in-hand.


Finally, a lot of heated debates seem to be happening about potential use of Embryonic stem cell for potential treatment of PD. It all “stems” from the disagreement about when the life begins in the embryo. We will see a lot more active discussions on this one in media going forward.


Following are details about some of the researches:


1)

Covid-19 and Parkinsonism

Scientists in Australia have found that people who get infected by Covid-19 gets inflammatory response in the brain, which is similar to the one due to Parkinson’s Disease. The finding may illustrate a potential future risk for neurodegenerative disease to people who got infected by SARS-COV2 (virus that causes COVID-19). A lot of research still needs to be done to understand how the virus can exactly affect the brain. This may possibly explain the reason for brain fog.


Following is the link to the relevant article:



2)

Better to start the treatment early

Early indication of Parkinson’s Disease may occur as early as 20 years before the first symptoms of any movement disorder. Losing sense of smell, trying to act out dreams while sleeping, feeling low or constipation are usual symptoms, which in combination may suggest that the person is at risk of developing Parkinson’s Disease. Until 10 years back, treatment was often delayed till the symptoms are more visible. Now, the treatment is generally started soon. This helps patient’s well-being and independence.


Following is the link to the relevant article:



3)

Parkinson’s Diseases is plural – one for each gender

Scientists have identified about 200 genes with epigenetic marks in brains that has the disease and the healthy brains. The genes that were found to be affected in the brain with disease have been found to be almost entirely different in men and women. While causality has not been established yet, it is clear that the disease impact almost entirely differently in men as compared to the women. Currently this disease affects more men than women.


More details about this is found in the original article given below:



4)

Visual problems and cognitive impairment

One of the common non-motor symptom of Parkinson’s Disease is visual impairment. A study was conducted by scientists from top university and hospital. They found a correlation between visual problems and the cognitive impairment associated with Parkinson’s Disease. They found that patients with Parkinson’s Disease had one or more visual problems. The retinal nerve fiber and vessel also found to have been thickened.


Following is the link to the original research paper:



5)

Human embryonic stem cells and the moral concerns

Human embryonic stem cells are being considered for developing medicines for Parkinson’s Disease. There has been often heated debates regarding the moral concerns in using these stem cells. These embryos are generated during the IVF procedure for reproduction. Whether to use these embryos for medicinal purpose or not is still being discussed. The real issue is around the definition of when the life begins. While some say that a voluntary donation by women or couple may be acceptable, other say that it is immoral as the embryo gets destructed if used for non-reproductive purposes. The debate is still on.


Following is the link to the original study:


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