Tuesday November 20, 2018

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
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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.

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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.

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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)

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A Comprehensive Study Of Parasitic Worms Release Numerous Anwers

The analysis found almost a million new genes that had not been seen before, belonging to thousands of new gene families, and identified many new potential drug targets and drugs.

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parasitic Worm
A giant 25m worm representing the parasitic worm of schistosomiasis, that causes significant suffering and death to thousands of people around the world, is pictured on the Lake Leman on the occasion of the Neglected Tropical Diseases Summit, in Geneva, Switzerland. VOA

The largest study to date of the genetic makeup of parasitic worms has found hundreds of new clues about how they invade the human body, evade its immune system and cause disease.

The results point to potential de-worming treatments to help fight some of the most neglected tropical diseases — including river blindness, schistosomiasis and hookworm disease — which affect around a billion people worldwide.

“Parasitic worms are some of our oldest foes and have evolved over millions of years to be expert manipulators of the human immune system,” said Makedonka Mitreva of Washington University’s McDonnell Genome Institute, who co-led the work with colleagues from Britain’s Wellcome Sanger Institute and Edinburgh University.

parasitic Worm
World’s longest tapeworm. wikimedia

She said the results of this study would lead to both a deeper knowledge of the biology of parasites and a better understanding of how human immune systems can be harnessed or controlled.

Parasitic worm infections can last many years and can cause severe pain, physical disabilities, retarded development in children and social stigma linked to deformity.

Current medicines to combat them — including drugs made by Sanofi, GSK and Johnson & Johnson — can be moderately effective and are often donated by drugmakers or sold at reduced prices to those who need them. But the spectrum of drugs to treat worm infections is still limited.

To try to improve the potential drug pipeline and to understand how worms invade and take up residence inside humans and other animals, the research team compared the genomes of 81 species of roundworms and flatworms, including 45 that had never previously had their genomes sequenced.

parasitic Worm
How gut microbiota can aid in early diagnosis of liver cancer.

The analysis found almost a million new genes that had not been seen before, belonging to thousands of new gene families, and identified many new potential drug targets and drugs.

Also Read: Genes Tied To Obesity May Lower Risk Of Diabetes

“We focused our search by looking at existing drugs for human illnesses,” said the Sanger Institute’s Avril Coghlan, who worked on the team. She said this offered a possible fast-track route “to pinpointing existing drugs that could be repurposed for deworming.”

The study’s findings were published Monday in the journal Nature Genetics. (VOA)