Parkinson's disease is considered incurable, primarily owing to the late diagnosis – at a stage where it is difficult to reverse disease progress. Researchers at Cardiff University are utilizing new techniques for understand the earliest causes of the disease, aiming to improve treatment options.
Parkinson's is characterized by slow movement, tremors, rigidity, walking and balance issues, cognitive impairment, mental health disorders, and sleep disorders. This degenerative brain condition leads to involuntary movements and sometimes painful muscle contractions, which significantly impact the individual's quality of life. Additionally, many individuals with Parkinson's disease develop dementia over time. Parkinson's is the second most common brain degenerative condition after Alzheimer's disease––affecting over 8.5 million people globally. Its prevalence has doubled in the past two and a half decades.
The researchers at Cardiff University are collecting skin cell samples from individuals with and without Parkinson's, developing the cells into neurons, and studying the electrical communication between them. By analyzing the differences in Parkinson's cells and non-Parkinson's cells, the researchers hope to identify factors that lead to the brain cell loss seen in Parkinson's – including the inability to discard waste proteins.
Understanding the early causes of Parkinson's will improve the chances of early detection and treatment; thus, improving the quality of life for individuals affected by the disease.
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