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Dorothea Pinotsi. (photo via Facebook)


Root causes behind Parkinson’s disease discovered by Greek scientist

By WITW Staff on March 29, 2016

A scientist has identified how people develop Parkinson’s disease, a discovery that could aid research into potential treatments for the neurodegenerative disease, according to a report from Greek newspaper Proto Thema. Dorothea Pinotsi, who heads the research team at the Department of Chemical Engineering and Biotechnology at the University of Cambridge, was able to identify the point at which Parkinson’s caused certain proteins in the brain to become toxic, eventually leading to the death of brain cells. These same proteins, research suggests, can either cause, or prevent, Parkinson’s depending on the structural form they take.

Her discovery, published in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, is expected to help scientists understand how and why Parkinson’s disease manifests. Using optical super-resolution techniques, she and her team were able to observe the process leading up to Parkinson’s at the nanoscale. “We can really see details we couldn’t see before,” Pinotsi told Proto Thema, “so we may be able to counteract this toxic effect at an early stage.”

Parkinson’s disease is the most common neurodegenerative disease worldwide after Alzheimer’s, afflicting more than seven million people worldwide. The disease causes muscle tremors, stiffness, and, in its later stages, dementia is common.

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