Scientists may have discovered how the most common genetic cause of Parkinson’s disease destroys brain cells and devastates many patients worldwide.
Researchers from Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center (BIDMC) report in the October 29th issue of the journal Neurology that elevated levels of the protein alpha-synuclein can be detected in the skin of Parkinson’s disease patients . The finding offers a potential biomarker to enable doctors to identify and diagnose Parkinson’s before the disease has reached an advanced stage.
This week is Brain Awareness Week (BAW), an annual observance dedicated to raising public awareness about the progress and benefits of brain research. Coordinated by the Dana Alliance for Brain Initiatives and the European Dana Alliance for the Brain, every March, BAW unites the efforts of partner organizations around the world in a week-long celebration of the brain.
Dr. Menahem Segal, head of the Laboratory of Neuronal Plasticity at the Weizmann Institute of Science in Israel, studies the neuronal basis of long term memory in the brain. Of particular interest are conditions that are associated with deterioration of memory systems, such as those occurring in Alzheimer’s disease patients and mentally retarded children.