Thursday August 16, 2018

Research: Japan Scientists to Use ‘Reprogrammed’ Stem Cells to Fight Parkinson’s

The fact that the clinical trial uses iPS cells rather than human embryonic cells means the treatment would be acceptable in countries such as Ireland and much of Latin America, where embryonic cells are banned

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Japan scientists
Jun Takahashi, left, professor at Kyoto University's Centre for iPS Cell Research and Application, attends a news conference in Kyoto, Japan, July 30, 2018. (VOA)
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Japanese scientists said Monday they will start clinical trials next month on a treatment for Parkinson’s disease, transplanting “reprogrammed” stem cells into brains, seeking a breakthrough in treating the neurodegenerative disorder.

Parkinson’s is caused by a lack of dopamine made by brain cells, and researchers have long hoped to use stem cells to restore normal production of the neurotransmitter chemical.

The clinical trials come after researchers at Japan’s Kyoto University successfully used human-induced pluripotent stem cells (iPS) to restore functioning brain cells in monkeys last year.

So-called iPS cells are made by removing mature cells from an individual — often from the skin or blood — and reprogramming them to behave like embryonic stem cells. They can then be coaxed into dopamine-producing brain cells.

Parkinsons
Parkinson’s is caused by a lack of dopamine made by brain cells. (IANS)

“This will be the world’s first clinical trial using iPS cells on Parkinson’s disease,” Jun Takahashi, professor at Kyoto University’s Centre for iPS Cell Research and Application, told a news conference.

The center is headed by Shinya Yamanaka, who in 2012 shared a Nobel Prize for medicine with a British scientist, John Gurdon, for the discovery that adult cells can be transformed back into embryo-like cells.

Also Read: Boxing for Fitness Takes the Fight to Parkinson’s Disease

“We intend to carry on conducting our research carefully, yet expeditiously, in coordination with Kyoto University Hospital, so that new treatment using iPS cells will be brought to patients as soon as possible,” Yamanaka said in a statement.

The fact that the clinical trial uses iPS cells rather than human embryonic cells means the treatment would be acceptable in countries such as Ireland and much of Latin America, where embryonic cells are banned. (VOA)

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This New App Can Score Parkinson’s Severity

The app is available both for Android as well as iOS smartphones

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The reason that Parkinson’s disease develops is not known. Wikimedia commons

Computer scientists, including one of Indian-origin, has developed a new smartphone-based app that uses sensors to generate a score that reliably reflects symptom severity in patients with Parkinson’s disease.

Parkinson’s is a progressive brain disorder and is often tough to treat effectively because symptoms, such as tremors and walking difficulties, can vary dramatically over a period of days, or even hours.

The new app called “HopkinsPD”, developed by researchers from the Johns Hopkins University, helped Parkinson’s patients to objectively monitor symptoms in the home and then share data to doctors.

Parkinson’s disease is named after Dr James Parkinson (1755-1824), the doctor that first identified the condition. Wikimedia commons
Parkinson’s disease is named after Dr James Parkinson (1755-1824), the doctor that first identified the condition. Wikimedia Commons

“A smartphone-derived severity score for Parkinson’s disease is feasible and provides an objective measure of motor symptoms inside and outside the clinic that could be valuable for clinical care and therapeutic development,” said the research team including Srihari Mohan, undergraduate student at the varsity.

Typically, patients with Parkinson’s disease are evaluated by medical specialists during three or four clinic visits annually, and patients are asked to fill out a cumbersome 24-hour “motor diary” at home to record their mobility, involuntary twisting movements, etc. The doctor then uses this self-reported or imprecise data to guide treatment.

In the new study, published in the journal JAMA Neurology, the team collected the data with the help of “HopkinsPD” app and then using a machine learning technique, they converted it into an objective Parkinson’s disease severity score — that better reflected the overall severity of patients’ symptoms and how well they were responding to medication.

Gionee
The app will be available on all platforms.

This smartphone evaluation does not rely on the subjective observations of a medical staff, and can be administered any time or day in a clinic or within the patient’s home.

The app is available both for Android as well as iOS smartphones. IANS

2 responses to “This New App Can Score Parkinson’s Severity”

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