Monday March 18, 2019

Thinning of Retina Maybe Linked to Parkinson’s: Researchers

The thinning of the retina corresponded with the loss of brain cells that produce dopamine and the severity of the disease.

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Parkinson's Disease
GREAT MANCHESTER RUN 2010 Parkinson's UK Runners 16 May 2010 Manchester

The thinning of retina — the lining of nerve cells in the back of the eye — could be linked to Parkinson’s disease, a finding that can boost diagnoses to detect the disease in its earliest stages, researchers have found.

According to the study, the thinning of the retina is linked to the loss of brain cells that produce dopamine, a substance that helps control movement — a hallmark of the Parkinson’s disease that impairs motor ability.

“Our study is the first to show a link between the thinning of the retina and a known sign of the progression of the disease — the loss of brain cells that produce dopamine,” said Jee-Young Lee, from the Seoul National University in South Korea.

Parkinson's Disease
Representational Image. Flickr

“We also found the thinner the retina, the greater the severity of disease. These discoveries may mean that neurologists may eventually be able to use a simple eye scan to detect Parkinson’s disease in its earliest stages, before problems with movement begin,” Lee added.

The study, published in the journal Neurology, involved 49 people with an average age of 69 years who were diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease two years earlier but who had not yet started medication. They were compared to 54 people without the disease who were matched for age.

The team evaluated each participant with a complete eye exam, high-resolution eye scans as well as PET scan and found retina thinning, most notably in the two inner layers of the five layers of the retina, in those with Parkinson’s disease.

Parkinson's Disease
Parkinson’s Disease Gets Awareness From Various Events. Flickr

In addition, the thinning of the retina corresponded with the loss of brain cells that produce dopamine and the severity of the disease.

Also Read: Headache Due to Spending Long Hours in Front of Computer? Here’s How You Can Protect Your Eyes!

If confirmed in larger studies, “retina scans may not only allow earlier treatment of Parkinson’s disease but more precise monitoring of treatments that could slow progression of the disease as well”, Lee said. (IANS)

Next Story

Novel Treatment Offers Promise to Stop Parkinson’s

After nine months, there was no change in the PET scans of those who received placebo. On the other hand, the group who received GDNF showed an improvement of 100 per cent in a key area of the brain affected in the condition

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10 million people living worldwide suffer from Parkinson;s disease Pixabay
10 million people living worldwide suffer from Parkinson;s disease Pixabay

An experimental treatment that delivers a drug directly to the brain has shown promise for slowing, stopping, or even reversing Parkinson’s disease, say researchers.

The study, by a team led by University of Bristol researchers, in a clinical trial investigated whether the treatment called Glial Cell Line Derived Neurotrophic Factor (GDNF) — a natural protein, found in the brain — can regenerate dying dopamine brain cells in patients with Parkinson’s and reverse their condition, something no existing treatment can do.

The results potentially demonstrated that the new treatment was starting to reawaken and restore damaged brain cells and that repeated brain infusion is clinically feasible and tolerable, according in the Journal of Parkinson’s Disease.

The study “represents some of the most compelling evidence yet that we may have a means to possibly reawaken and restore the dopamine brain cells that are gradually destroyed in Parkinson’s”, said principal investigator Alan L. Whone, from the University of Bristol in the UK.

After an initial safety study of six people, 35 individuals were enrolled in the nine-month double blind trial, in which half were randomly assigned to receive monthly infusions of GDNF and the other half placebo infusions.

Parkinson's Disease
Parkinson’s Disease Gets Awareness From Various Events. Flickr

All participants underwent robot-assisted surgery to have four tubes placed into their brains, which allowed GDNF or placebo to be infused directly to the affected areas with pinpoint accuracy, via a port in their head.

After implantation the team administered, more than 1,000 brain infusions, once every four weeks.

After nine months, there was no change in the PET scans of those who received placebo. On the other hand, the group who received GDNF showed an improvement of 100 per cent in a key area of the brain affected in the condition.

Also Read- Now Machine Learning Can Help in Predicting Earthquakes

“This trial has shown that we can safely and repeatedly infuse drugs directly into patients’ brains over months or years,” said Steven Gill, lead neurosurgeon at North Bristol NHS Trust, Bristol, UK

“This is a significant breakthrough in our ability to treat neurological conditions, such as Parkinson’s, because most drugs that might work cannot cross from the blood stream into the brain due to a natural protective barrier.” (IANS)