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Parkinson's Disease Press Releases

Cellular energy factories

PINK1 protein crucial for removing broken-down energy reactors
Wednesday, Aug 12, 2015
Cells are powered by tiny energy reactors called mitochondria. When damaged, they leak destructive molecules that can cause substantial harm and eventually kill brain cells. Scientists at the NIH’s National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS) showed that a protein called PINK1 that is implicated in Parkinson’s disease is critical for helping cells get rid of dysfunctional mitochondria.

Crystal clear hormone receptors

Crystal clear images uncover secrets of hormone receptors
Friday, Jul 31, 2015
Many hormones and neurotransmitters work by binding to receptors on a cell’s exterior surface. This activates receptors causing them to twist, turn and spark chemical reactions inside cells. NIH scientists used atomic level images to show how the neuropeptide hormone neurotensin might activate its receptors. Their description is the first of its kind for a neuropeptide-binding G protein-coupled receptor (GPCR), a class of receptors involved in a wide range of disorders and the target of many drugs.

New NIH logo

New members selected for National Advisory Neurological Disorders and Stroke Council
Thursday, Jan 29, 2015
Five prominent individuals from the neuroscience community have joined the National Advisory Neurological Disorders and Stroke Council, the principal advisory body to the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS), part of the National Institutes of Health.

Making scents of new cells in the brain’s odor-processing area

Scientists sniff out unexpected role for stem cells in the brain
Friday, Oct 10, 2014
For decades, scientists thought that neurons in the brain were born only during the early development period and could not be replenished. More recently, however, they discovered cells with the ability to divide and turn into new neurons in specific brain regions.

Chipping Away at Parkinson's

NIH scientists find six new genetic risk factors for Parkinson’s
Sunday, Jul 27, 2014
A new international study has taken number crunching to the extreme. Using data from over 18,000 patients, scientists identified more than two dozen genetic risk factors involved in Parkinson’s disease, including six that had not been previously reported. The study, published in Nature Genetics, was partially funded by the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and led by scientists working in NIH laboratories.

Deadly Parkinson's gene LRRK2

Too much protein may kill brain cells as Parkinson’s progresses
Thursday, Apr 10, 2014
Scientists may have discovered how the most common genetic cause of Parkinson’s disease destroys brain cells and devastates many patients worldwide. The study was partially funded by the National Institutes of Health’s National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS); the results may help scientists develop new therapies.

Interfering with Parkin

Gene-silencing study finds new targets for Parkinson’s disease
Monday, Nov 25, 2013
Scientists at the National Institutes of Health have used RNA interference (RNAi) technology to reveal dozens of genes which may represent new therapeutic targets for treating Parkinson’s disease. The findings also may be relevant to several diseases caused by damage to mitochondria, the biological power plants found in cells throughout the body.

New NIH logo

Statement on the Termination of NET-PD LS-1 Study
Wednesday, Sep 11, 2013
On September 11, 2013, the NINDS stopped the NET-PD LS-1 study of creatine for treatment of early stage Parkinson's disease, acting on the recommendation of the study's Data Safety Monitoring Board (DSMB).

Mitochondria dance around and tune nerve cell voices

NIH researchers discover how brain cells change their tune
Thursday, Jul 25, 2013
Brain cells talk to each other in a variety of tones. Sometimes they speak loudly but other times struggle to be heard. For many years scientists have asked why and how brain cells change tones so frequently. Today National Institutes of Health researchers showed that brief bursts of chemical energy coming from rapidly moving power plants, called mitochondria, may tune brain cell communication.

Effect of strain B on mouse cells

Altered protein shapes may explain differences in some brain diseases
Wednesday, Jul 3, 2013
It only takes one bad apple to spoil the bunch, and the same may be true of certain proteins in the brain. Studies have suggested that just one rogue protein (in this case, a protein that is misfolded or shaped the wrong way) can act as a seed, leading to the misfolding of nearby proteins. According to an NIH-funded study, various forms of these seeds — originating from the same protein — may lead to different patterns of misfolding that result in neurological disorders with unique sets of symptoms.

Fly ‘Nose’ Neurons Help Sniff Out Proteins Suspected of Regulating Neurodegeneration.

Of Mice and Flies: A Cutting-Edge Method for Detecting Neurodegenerative Disease Targets
Thursday, May 16, 2013
Studying neurodegenerative diseases can be like investigating a crime. Scientists inspect damaged nervous tissue, or “the scene”, for suspicious molecules and then work backwards to explain how the suspects may have killed nerve cells. Recently two research groups, one in the United States and the other in the United Kingdom, collaborated to develop a new way to quickly round up many more suspects and test their “alibis”. Their results may lead to more effective treatments for Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease and a variety of other neurodegenerative disorders.

Dr. Xuemei Huang and colleagues look at MRI scans

NIH launches collaborative effort to find biomarkers for Parkinson’s
Tuesday, Jan 15, 2013
NINDS has launched a new initiative to help researchers investigate biomarkers for Parkinson’s disease, and to help patients learn about and participate in such studies. So far, the NINDS Parkinson’s Disease Biomarkers Program has funded nine research teams. To support collaboration across these projects and others, the PDBP is introducing a new online platform for investigators to share their data.

Neurotensin image

NIH researchers provide detailed view of brain protein structure
Wednesday, Oct 10, 2012
Researchers have published the first highly detailed description of how neurotensin, a neuropeptide hormone which modulates nerve cell activity in the brain, interacts with its receptor. Their results suggest that neuropeptide hormones use a novel binding mechanism to activate a class of receptors called G-protein coupled receptors (GPCRs).

NINDS Logo thumbnail

National Neurological Disorders and Stroke Advisory Council welcomes four new members
Thursday, Sep 20, 2012
The NINDS announced that four new members have joined its National Advisory Neurological Disorders and Stroke Council: E. Antonio Chiocca, M.D., Ph.D., David B. Goldstein, Ph.D., Byron D. Ford, Ph.D., and Amy Comstock Rick, J.D. The council serves as the principal advisory body to NINDS regarding the institute’s research program planning and priorities.

Human iPS cells differentiating into dopaminergic neurons

Patient-derived stem cells could improve drug research for Parkinson's
Wednesday, Jul 4, 2012
Researchers have taken a step toward better drug therapies for Parkinson's disease and Huntington's disease by investigating signs of distress and vulnerability in patient-derived cells. Cells derived from patients with Parkinson's had different responses to drug treatments depending on the type of Parkinson's each patient had. These are the latest advances from the NINDS iPS cell consortia.

U.S. Army soldier in Afghanistan

First cases of degenerative brain disease CTE found in veterans with blast injuries
Friday, Jun 29, 2012
Some veterans who experience blast-related head injuries can develop the same kind of long-term brain damage seen in athletes who have had multiple head injuries on the playing field. The finding expands the potential public health impact of chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE) – the name for degenerative changes in the brain that sometimes occur after a history of multiple concussions.

Individuals performing tai chi

Tai chi helps Parkinson’s patients with balance and fall prevention
Thursday, May 10, 2012
For Parkinson’s disease, exercise routines are often recommended to help maintain stability and the coordinated movements necessary for everyday living. An NIH-funded study evaluated three different forms of exercise – resistance training, stretching, and tai chi – and found that tai chi led to the greatest overall improvements in balance and stability for patients with mild to moderate Parkinson’s disease.

NINDS small logo

NIH-funded twin study finds occupational chemical exposure may be linked to Parkinson’s risk
Monday, Nov 14, 2011
New research in twins contributes to the increasing evidence that repeated occupational exposure to certain chemical solvents raises the risk for Parkinson’s disease. Of the six chemicals investigated, researchers concluded that two common chemical solvents, trichloroethylene (TCE) and perchloroethylene (PERC), are significantly linked to development of this disease.

Movement disorders can add difficulty to simple tasks, such as pouring water from one cup into another, as shown here.

YouTube videos can inaccurately depict Parkinson’s disease and other movement disorders
Wednesday, Sep 21, 2011
After reviewing the most frequently watched YouTube videos about movement disorders, a group of neurologists found that the people in the videos often do not have a movement disorder. As described in a Letter to the Editor in this week’s New England Journal of Medicine, such medical misinformation may confuse patients seeking health information and advice online.

NINDS small logo

Four new members appointed to National Advisory Neurological Disorders and Stroke Council
Monday, Sep 12, 2011
The NINDS announced that four new members have joined its National Advisory Neurological Disorders and Stroke Council: David M. Holtzman, M.D., David D. Ginty, Ph.D., Paul H. Gross, and Kevin St. P. McNaught, Ph.D. The council serves as the principal advisory body to NINDS regarding the institute’s research program planning and priorities.

Motor neurons derived from human iPS cells

Induced Pluripotent Stem Cells Give Investigators a New Window into Neurological Disease
Friday, Jun 24, 2011
It is possible to take a sample of skin cells and induce them to behave like embryonic stem cells. Scientists are using these so-called induced pluripotent stem (iPS) cells to study disease mechanisms and test potential therapeutic drugs. In 2009, NINDS funded three consortia to develop iPS cell lines from individuals with Parkinson’s disease, amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), and Huntington’s disease.

Neurons require vast amounts of energy, and are filled with hundreds of mitochondria.

Parkinson’s Disease: More Signs of Mitochondrial Damage and Hope for Repair
Wednesday, Dec 8, 2010
New research supports a theory that cellular energy factories called mitochondria play a central role in Parkinson’s disease. Moreover, drugs capable of jumpstarting mitochondria, including one drug currently on the market for diabetes, could help fight the disease. The research shows that hundreds of genes needed for mitochondrial function are less active in people with Parkinson’s.

Fluorescence microscopy showing the mouse substantia nigra.  From BD Lee et al., Nature Medicine, Sept 2010.

Taking Aim at a Rogue Gene may Yield New Drugs for Parkinson’s Disease
Monday, Nov 29, 2010
Mutations in the LRRK2 gene are the most common known cause of Parkinson’s disease. In experiments on mice, researchers think they have found a class of organic compounds that can limit the damaging effects of such mutations in the brain. Preparations are underway to test these compounds in a monkey model of Parkinson’s disease.

Model of glutamate receptor

X-Rays Reveal 3-D Structural Image of Brain Receptor
Wednesday, Nov 10, 2010
Researchers led by Eric Gouaux at Oregon Health and Science University have built a three-dimensional image of a glutamate receptor, a workhorse protein of brain communications. The scientists uncovered the receptor’s form by bombarding it with X-rays – a technology called X-ray crystallography. The findings are expected to yield new insights into receptors and their critical role in thinking, learning and memory.

Logos of the Udall Centers

NINDS awards new Udall Centers for Parkinson’s Disease Research
Wednesday, Sep 29, 2010
The NINDS has established two new sites as part of the Morris K. Udall Centers of Excellence in Parkinson’s Disease Research. The NINDS grants will provide a five-year investment totaling more than $16 million for Emory University in Atlanta and the Feinstein Institute for Medical Research in Manhasset, New York.

Cup of coffee

Researchers Explore Gene-Caffeine Interaction in Parkinson’s Disease
Wednesday, Sep 29, 2010
The genetic makeup of people with Parkinson’s disease may determine how they respond to caffeine, which is generally associated with a lower risk of the disease. The finding, reported today at the World Parkinson Congress (WPC) in Glasgow, Scotland, comes from one of the first genome wide association studies (GWAS) that looked at genetic and environmental interactions.

A photomicrograph of white blood cells, which are immune cells that fight infections.  Credit: Public Health Image Library, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Researchers Find Connection between Parkinson’s Disease and Immune System-Related Gene
Monday, Sep 27, 2010
Researchers have found that a gene involved in the immune response is linked to the risk of developing Parkinson’s disease. The finding strengthens a theory that Parkinson’s disease may result partly from harmful immune reactions such as inflammation, infections or autoimmunity – when the immune system attacks the body’s own tissues.

Stimulating 'go' neurons in mice causes them to move, as shown in crisscrossing paths they take during just 20 seconds.  Stimulating the 'stop' neurons causes them to stop.

Targeting Brain’s ‘Go’ Pathway Might Help Relieve Parkinson’s Symptoms
Friday, Sep 24, 2010
Parkinson’s disease affects the brain’s motor control circuitry, causing rigidity, slowed movement and poor balance. In a study published in Nature,* researchers have teased apart this circuitry, confirming that it contains two distinct pathways – a “go” pathway that tells the body to move and a “stop” pathway that suppresses movement. Tipping the balance in favor of the go pathway might help treat patients.

Histamine molecule by H. Zell

Abnormalities in Brain Histamine may be Key Factor in Tourette Syndrome
Tuesday, Sep 14, 2010
Since the first case description in the 19th century, the causes of Tourette syndrome have been a mystery. Now researchers have identified a rare gene mutation responsible for the disorder in one family. The gene is needed for producing histamine, a small molecule with many roles in the body, including signaling in the brain.

Microscopic images show that there are more dopamine-producing nerve fibers in the brains of Parkinsonian monkeys after treatment with AAV-GDNF.

Gene Therapy Rescues Monkeys from Parkinson's Symptoms
Wednesday, Jul 14, 2010
In a study funded by NINDS, researchers have found they can rescue monkeys from a Parkinson’s-like condition by using gene therapy to deliver the growth factor GDNF. The approach involves packaging the gene for GDNF into a small virus, which is then injected into the brain. Monkeys that were already symptomatic improved after the treatment.

An illustration of DBS for Parkinson's disease.  Fine wires are implanted in the brain and stimulation is controlled by a pacemaker-like device under the skin, usually near the shoulder blade.

Deep Brain Stimulation at Two Different Targets Produces Similar Motor Benefits for Parkinson’s Patients
Wednesday, Jun 2, 2010
In a major study, investigators have compared how individuals with Parkinson’s disease respond to deep brain stimulation (DBS) at two different sites in the brain. Contrary to current belief, patients who received DBS at either site in the brain experienced comparable benefits for the motor symptoms of Parkinson’s.

Researchers Firm up Evidence for Role of Mitochondria in Parkinson’s Disease
Tuesday, Feb 23, 2010
New studies supported by the National Institutes of Health shed light on the functions of two genes related to Parkinson’s disease called parkin and PINK1. The studies connect parkin and PINK1 in a pathway that assures quality control over mitochondria – subcellular factories that are the main source of energy for neurons and most other cells in the body.

Four New Members Appointed to National Neurological Disorders and Stroke Advisory Council
Thursday, Feb 4, 2010
Four New Members Appointed to National Neurological Disorders and Stroke Advisory Council

Researchers Identify Gene Mutations Underlying Risk for Most Common Form of Parkinson’s Disease
Friday, Nov 20, 2009
Two genes containing mutations known to cause rare familial forms of parkinsonism are also associated with the more common, sporadic form of the disease where there is no family history, researchers have found. The finding came in the largest genome-wide association study (GWAS) reported to date involving Parkinson's disease.

Investment in Parkinson’s Disease Data Bank Yields Potential Therapy
Tuesday, Oct 13, 2009
Individuals with Parkinson’s disease who have higher levels of a metabolite called urate in their blood and in cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) have a slower rate of disease progression, according to a study funded by the National Institutes of Health. A clinical trial is under way to examine the safety and potential benefits of supplemental urate elevation for recently diagnosed Parkinson’s patients who have low urate levels.

Dr. William Matthew Tapped to Lead NINDS Office of Translational Research
Thursday, Jul 30, 2009
The National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS), part of the National Institutes of Health, has named William D. Matthew, Ph.D., as director of its Office of Translational Research (OTR).

The cyclic peptide looks like a kinked circle with branches all around it (which are amino acid side chains).  Parts of the cyclic peptide required for function are red; the rest is gray.  Courtesy of Joshua Kritzer, Ph.D., Whitehead Institute.

Novel Drug Discovery Tool Could Identify Promising New Therapies for Parkinson’s Disease
Monday, Jul 13, 2009
Researchers funded by the National Institutes of Health have turned simple baker’s yeast into a virtual army of medicinal chemists capable of rapidly searching for drugs to treat Parkinson’s disease. The researchers rescued yeast cells from toxic levels of a protein implicated in Parkinson’s disease by stimulating the cells to make very small proteins called cyclic peptides.

Spinal Cord Stimulation may be Alternative to Deep Brain Stimulation for Parkinson’s Disease
Wednesday, Jun 17, 2009
Electrical stimulation of the spinal cord relieves symptoms of Parkinson's disease in rodents, according to a new study published in Science*. The procedure might provide a safe, effective alternative to deep brain stimulation (DBS), a relatively invasive treatment for Parkinson's disease that is used when medication fails.

In Parkinson's Disease, the Brain Stops Playing by the 'Rules'
Tuesday, Feb 24, 2009
Parkinson's disease (PD) slowly robs people of their ability to control movement. Purposeful movements become slow and rigid, while periods of rest become interrupted by shakes and tremors. In a study reported in Science, researchers say they are closer to understanding how these symptoms arise, and possibly how to treat them.

Deep Brain Stimulation More Effective than Best Medical Therapy Even in Older Parkinson’s Patients
Wednesday, Jan 7, 2009
Deep brain stimulation (DBS) was more effective than best medical therapy (BMT) in improving “on” time-- periods of unimpeded motor function--and quality of life in a large comparison study of more than 200 advanced Parkinson’s disease (PD) patients. Patients in the DBS group, even those over 70 years old, gained as much as four and a half hours of on time compared to the BMT group, who gained none.

Four New Members Named to National Neurology Advisory Council
Thursday, Sep 18, 2008
The National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS) has appointed four new members to its major advisory panel, the National Advisory Neurological Disorders and Stroke Council. The NINDS, a component of the National Institutes of Health (NIH), is the nation's primary supporter of basic, translational, and clinical research on the brain and nervous system. NINDS Director Story Landis, Ph.D., formally introduced the new members, who will serve through July 2012, at the Council's September 18, meeting.

NIH Symposium Explores Promise of Stem Cell Therapies
Monday, Jul 14, 2008
Stem cells have been hailed as a toolkit to treat a host of diseases, but at an NIH symposium on May 6, researchers said they are still deciphering the toolkit’s instruction manual.

Huntington’s Disease Protein Affects Nerve Signaling; Study Suggests New Treatments
Thursday, Jun 26, 2008
The abnormal protein found in Huntington’s disease (HD) leads to an unusually large amount of nerve signaling early in the disease process, before other problems appear, a new study shows. Partially blocking these nerve signals prevents neuron death and loss of motor function in fruit flies models of HD. The findings suggest possible new ways of delaying the onset or slowing the progression of the disease.

Study Identifies Possible Trigger for Parkinson's Disease
Monday, Feb 25, 2008
A chemical interaction that blocks cells' ability to break down damaged proteins may trigger development of Parkinson's disease (PD), a new study shows. Finding ways to overcome the blockage could lead to strategies for preventing the disease or stopping its progression.

Study Suggests Some Brain Injuries Reduce the Likelihood of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder
Sunday, Dec 23, 2007
A new study of combat-exposed Vietnam War veterans shows that those with injuries to certain parts of the brain were less likely to develop post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). The findings, from the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and the National Naval Medical Center, suggest that drugs or pacemaker-like devices aimed at dampening activity in these brain regions might be effective treatments for PTSD.

NINDS Announces New Spanish-Language Website
Friday, Dec 7, 2007
Free, accurate information on many neurological disorders is now available on a new Spanish-language website from the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS), part of the National Institutes of Health (NIH). The website is available at

The Structure of an Important Drug Target Made Crystal Clear
Wednesday, Dec 5, 2007
Scientists have produced detailed 3-dimensional images of a common type of neurotransmitter receptor, the class of proteins on the receiving end of chemical signals in the nervous system. The work, funded by the National Institutes of Health (NIH), is expected to speed the development of drugs for a variety of neurological and psychiatric disorders.

Scientists Zero in on the Cellular Machinery that Enables Neurons to Fire
Wednesday, Nov 14, 2007
If you ever had a set of Micronauts – toy robots with removable body parts – you probably had fun swapping their heads, imagining how it would affect their behavior. Scientists supported by the National Institutes of Health have been performing similar experiments on ion channels – pores in our nerve cells – to sort out the channels' key functional parts.

Imaging Neural Progenitor Cells in the Living Human Brain
Thursday, Nov 8, 2007
For the first time, investigators have identified a way to detect neural progenitor cells (NPCs), which can develop into neurons and other nervous system cells, in the living human brain using a type of imaging called magnetic resonance spectroscopy (MRS). The finding, supported by the National Institutes of Health (NIH), may lead to improved diagnosis and treatment for depression, Parkinson's disease, brain tumors, and a host of other disorders.

Blood Pressure Drug May Slow Parkinson's Disease
Friday, Aug 3, 2007
For decades, scientists have tried to learn what causes the death of a select group of nerve cells in the brains of people with Parkinson's disease (PD). New research identifies an unusual mode of activity in these cells that makes them exceptionally vulnerable to toxins and stress and shows that a common drug can protect these neurons in animal models of PD. This work suggests a possible new way to slow or prevent the disease.

‘Gene Chip’ Study Could Lead to Blood Test for Parkinson’s
Monday, Apr 2, 2007
A new study has revealed 30 genes whose activity levels are altered in the blood of people with Parkinson’s disease (PD), paving the way for a blood test and a better understanding of what causes the disease.

NIH Announces Phase III Clinical Trial of Creatine for Parkinson's Disease
Thursday, Mar 22, 2007
The NIH National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS) is launching a large-scale clinical trial to learn if the nutritional supplement creatine can slow the progression of Parkinson's disease (PD). While creatine is not an approved therapy for PD or any other condition, it is widely thought to improve exercise performance. The potential benefit of creatine for PD was identified by Parkinson’s researchers through a new rapid method for screening potential compounds.

Stem Cells Make Neurons, and Tumors, in Rat Model of Parkinson's Disease
Thursday, Mar 1, 2007
In a new study that illustrates the promise and perils of stem cell therapy, scientists found that implanting human embryonic stem cells led to dramatic functional improvement – but also to brain tumors – in a rat model of Parkinson’s disease (PD).

Enzyme Reverses Memory Loss in Alzheimer’s Mouse Model
Monday, Nov 6, 2006
Increasing the amount of a specific enzyme in the brain partially restores memory in a mouse model for Alzheimer’s disease (AD), researchers say. The results could eventually lead to new treatments for AD or other neurodegenerative disorders.

Researchers Announce Results of Study on Genetic Variation in Parkinson's Disease
Wednesday, Sep 27, 2006
Researchers at the National Institutes of Health (NIH) have completed one of the first large-scale studies of the role of common genetic variation in Parkinson’s disease (PD). While the results fill in some missing pieces of the genetic puzzle, they are primarily of benefit as a starting point for more detailed studies. The information generated by the study is now publicly available in a database that will serve as a valuable research tool for the future.

Dopamine Drug Leads to New Neurons and Recovery of Function in Rat Model of Parkinson's Disease
Tuesday, Jul 4, 2006
In preliminary results, researchers have shown that a drug which mimics the effects of the nerve-signaling chemical dopamine causes new neurons to develop in the part of the brain where cells are lost in Parkinson's disease (PD). The drug also led to long-lasting recovery of function in an animal model of PD. The findings may lead to new ways of treating PD and other neurodegenerative diseases.

New Orthostatic Hypotension Treatment Reduces Symptoms Without Causing High Blood Pressure
Tuesday, Apr 11, 2006
A drug traditionally used to treat myasthenia gravis shows potential benefit for reducing symptoms of orthostatic hypotension without raising blood pressure when people lie down, according to results of a double-blind, controlled clinical trial.

Genetics and Epidemiology Point to Future Treatment and Cure for Parkinson’s Disease
Monday, Feb 27, 2006
Recent advances in scientists’ understanding of the genetics and epidemiology of Parkinson’s may point to ways to prevent and, eventually, find a cure for the disease, according to scientists presenting at the World Parkinson Congress.

Study Implicates Potassium Channel Mutations in Neurodegeneration and Mental Retardation
Sunday, Feb 26, 2006
For the first time, researchers have linked mutations in a gene that regulates how potassium enters cells to a neurodegenerative disease and to another disorder that causes mental retardation and coordination problems. The findings may lead to new ways of treating a broad range of disorders, including Alzheimer's and Parkinson's diseases. The study was funded in part by the National Institutes of Health's National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS).

Preliminary Results Shows Creatine and Minocycline May Warrant Further Study in Parkinson’s Disease
Thursday, Feb 23, 2006
A National Institutes of Health-sponsored clinical trial with 200 Parkinson's disease patients has shown that creatine and minocycline may warrant further consideration for study in a large trial.

Advancements in Symptomatic and Neuroprotective Treatments Highlighted at First World Parkinson Congress
Thursday, Feb 23, 2006
At today’s World Parkinson Congress, the first international gathering of Parkinson’s researchers, health professionals, patients, and caregivers, some of the world’s leading neuroscientists from the United States, Canada, and Sweden presented on innovative therapies that show promise in controlling the symptoms of Parkinson’s, restoring lost function, and even altering the progression of the disease.

Living with Parkinson’s: A Jekyll and Hyde Existence
Thursday, Feb 23, 2006
"I live a strange double life," said 37-year-old Tom Isaacs, who was diagnosed with Parkinson's disease (PD) ten years ago and is a co-founder of the Cure Parkinson's Trust in the United Kingdom. "I am both Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde."

Study Identifies New Mode of Action for Ataxia Gene
Wednesday, Oct 19, 2005
For the first time, researchers have identified how the gene for a hereditary neurodegenerative disease called spinocerebellar ataxia type 1 (SCA1) disables an important group of neurons in the brain. The findings improve understanding of how SCA1 and related diseases develop and may lead to new ways of treating them.

Toxic Interactions from Neighboring Cells May Be Necessary for Huntington’s disease
Tuesday, Sep 27, 2005
A new study suggests that interactions between different cells are critical for the development of Huntington’s disease (HD) and perhaps other neurodegenerative diseases. This study provides the first genetic evidence that cell-cell interactions may be a necessary step in the onset of HD symptoms in a mouse model. This knowledge may lead to new therapeutic strategies to treat HD.

Drug Screening Study Suggests New Treatments for Alzheimer's
Monday, Sep 26, 2005
While several treatments are currently available for Alzheimer's disease (AD), none of them can slow or halt the course of this devastating disorder. In a new study, researchers have now identified three compounds that inhibit an enzyme believed to be involved in the process that leads to AD. This discovery may lead to new treatments that can stop the disease process in its tracks.

TorsinA Protein Protects Against Neuron Loss in Model for Parkinson's Disease
Wednesday, Jun 1, 2005
A protein found naturally in the brain may protect against Parkinson's disease (PD), a new study shows. The findings also may lead to an improved understanding of a disorder called early-onset torsion dystonia.

Test Could Improve Detection of Prion Disease in Humans
Monday, Feb 14, 2005
A highly sensitive post-mortem test could help scientists more accurately determine if a person died of Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease (CJD), a human neurological disorder caused by the same class of infectious proteins that trigger mad cow disease, according to a new study supported in part by the National Institutes of Health (NIH). The finding opens the possibility that such testing might be refined in the future so it can be used to detect prion disease in living people and animals before the onset of symptoms.

Internationally Acclaimed Pianist Gives Thanks to the National Institutes of Health for Innovative Treatment That Enabled His Comeback
Friday, Nov 12, 2004
Maestro Leon Fleisher, one of the world's most renowned classical pianists and three-time Grammy-nominee, will perform selections from his critically acclaimed new CD "Two Hands" at a pre-Thanksgiving event at the National Institutes of Health (NIH). More than 40 years ago, at the height of his career, Mr. Fleisher lost the use of his right hand to dystonia, the third most common neurological movement disorder after Parkinson's disease and essential tremor. He could no longer play the piano with both hands and the frequently misdiagnosed disorder severely impeded his performance of everyday tasks. About 10 years ago, physicians at the NIH were able to diagnose the problem as a focal dystonia and start him on a therapy which helped to reverse the condition.

Study Using Robotic Microscope Shows How Mutant Huntington's Disease Protein Affects Neurons
Wednesday, Oct 13, 2004
Using a specially designed robotic microscope to study cultured cells, researchers have found evidence that abnormal protein clumps called inclusion bodies in neurons from people with Huntington's disease (HD) prevent cell death. The finding helps to resolve a longstanding debate about the role of these inclusion bodies in HD and other disorders and may help investigators find effective treatments for these diseases.
Fact Sheet

Vaccine Reduces Parkinson's Disease Neurodegeneration in Mice
Wednesday, Jul 28, 2004
For the first time, researchers have shown that an experimental vaccine can reduce the amount of neurodegeneration in a mouse model for Parkinson's disease. The finding suggests that a similar therapy might eventually be able to slow the devastating course of Parkinson's disease in humans.
Fact Sheet

Yeast Model Yields Insight into Parkinson's Disease
Thursday, Dec 4, 2003
Scientists who developed the first yeast model of Parkinson's disease (PD) have been able to describe the mechanisms of an important gene's role in the disease. Tiago Fleming Outeiro, Ph.D., and Susan Lindquist, Ph.D., of the Whitehead Institute for Biomedical Research in Cambridge, Massachusetts, studied the gene's actions under normal conditions and under abnormal conditions to learn how and when the gene's product, alpha-synuclein, becomes harmful to surrounding cells. The scientists created a yeast model that expresses the alpha-synuclein gene, which has been implicated in PD. Yeast models are often used in the study of genetic diseases because they offer researchers a simple system that allows them to clarify how genes work.
Fact Sheet

Major New Finding on Genetics of Parkinson's Disease Zeroes In on Activity of Alpha Synuclein
Thursday, Oct 30, 2003
Scientists investigating a rare familial form of early-onset Parkinson's disease have discovered that too much of a normal form of the alpha-synuclein gene may cause Parkinson's disease. The finding, reported in the October 31, 2003, issue of Science, shows that abnormal multiplication of the alpha-synuclein gene can cause the disease.
Fact Sheet

Study Reveals Patterns of Gene Activity in the Mouse Nervous System
Wednesday, Oct 29, 2003
The first published data from a government-funded project provide remarkable new insights into where specific genes are active in the mouse nervous system during development and adulthood. Information from this project will advance researchers' understanding of how particular genes function in the brain and spinal cord, leading to insights about how the nervous system works. It also may lead to new ways of preventing or treating disorders such as Parkinson's disease, Alzheimer's, psychiatric disorders, and drug addiction.

Investigators Explore Selective Silencing of Disease Genes
Wednesday, Oct 15, 2003
A new strategy to shut down mutant gene expression in the brain may someday be useful to treat a wide range of hereditary neurodegenerative diseases, such as Huntington’s, Alzheimer’s, and Parkinson’s diseases.
Fact Sheet

Study Links Restless Legs Syndrome to Poor Iron Uptake in the Brain
Monday, Aug 11, 2003
Results of the first-ever autopsy study of brains from people with restless legs syndrome (RLS) suggest that the disorder may result from inefficient processing of iron in certain brain cells. The findings provide a possible explanation for this disorder and may lead to new ways of treating the disease.
Fact Sheet

Misbehaving Molecules: 3-Dimensional Pictures of ALS Mutant Proteins Support Two Major Theories About How the Disease is Caused
Sunday, May 18, 2003
A new study reveals for the first time how gene mutations lead to the inherited form of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), or Lou Gehrig's disease. The study suggests that the two most prominent theories of how familial ALS (FALS) and other related diseases develop are both right in part.
Fact Sheet

What's in a Connection? A Look at Protein Patterns Within Synapses
Monday, May 5, 2003
A new study has begun to unravel the mysteries of protein interactions that govern the strength of nerve cell connections, or synapses, in the brain. The findings give researchers a better understanding of how synapses function during learning and memory, and they may lead to new insights about such neurological disorders as Parkinson's and Alzheimer's diseases.

New Findings About Parkinson's Disease: Coffee and Hormones Don't Mix
Thursday, Apr 17, 2003
Several large studies have shown that caffeine intake is associated with a reduced risk of developing Parkinson's disease (PD) in men, but studies in women have been inconclusive. A new study shows that hormone therapy is a possible explanation for the different effects of caffeine on PD risk in men and women.
Fact Sheet

Dystonia Protein Linked to Problem Common in Other Neurological Disorders
Monday, Mar 24, 2003
A new study links the protein that is impaired in the movement disorder torsion dystonia to a problem that is common to many neurological diseases. The finding may point to new treatments for dystonia, Parkinson's disease, and other disorders.
Fact Sheet

Doubling Up: Researchers Combine a Common Dietary Supplement with an Antibiotic to Treat Lou Gehrig's Disease
Friday, Jan 31, 2003
A new study shows that combining the supplement creatine and the antibiotic minocycline significantly slows disease progression and prolongs survival in a mouse model of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), or Lou Gehrig's disease.
Fact Sheet

Bone Marrow Generates New Neurons in Human Brains
Monday, Jan 20, 2003
A new study strongly suggests that some cells from bone marrow can enter the human brain and generate new neurons and other types of brain cells. If researchers can find a way to control these cells and direct them to damaged areas of the brain, this finding may lead to new treatments for stroke, Parkinson's disease, and other neurological disorders.

Study Suggests Coenzyme Q10 Slows Functional Decline in Parkinson's Disease
Monday, Oct 14, 2002
Results of the first placebo-controlled, multicenter clinical trial of the compound coenzyme Q10 suggest that it can slow disease progression in patients with early-stage Parkinson's disease (PD). While the results must be confirmed in a larger study, they provide hope that this compound may ultimately provide a new way of treating PD.
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Researchers Successfully Deliver Drugs to the Primate Brainstem
Thursday, Oct 3, 2002
Current drug treatments of brainstem tumors are largely unsuccessful, because the drugs often fail to bypass the blood vessel lining protecting the brainstem. Now, an NIH study shows that researchers can effectively deliver drugs to the primate brainstem and monitor how the drugs spread inside the brain. The study provides hope for improving treatment of brainstem tumors and other brain diseases.
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Embryonic Mouse Stem Cells Reduce Symptoms in Model for Parkinson's Disease
Thursday, Jun 20, 2002
Embryonic mouse stem cells transformed into neurons in a lab dish and then transplanted into a rat model for Parkinson's disease (PD) form functional connections and reduce disease symptoms, a new study shows. The finding suggests that embryonic stem (ES) cells may ultimately be useful for treating PD and other brain diseases.
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Minocycline Delays Onset and Slows Progression of ALS in Mice
Thursday, May 2, 2002
The antibiotic minocycline delays onset and slows progression of symptoms in a mouse model for amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), a new study shows. The study also revealed that the drug may work by blocking release of a molecule that triggers cell death. The findings may lead to new ways of treating ALS or other neurodegenerative disorders.
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Study Finds Widespread Sympathetic Nerve Damage in Parkinson's Disease
Monday, Apr 22, 2002
Parkinson's disease is known to cause damage to a specific region of the brain. A new study led by NINDS scientist David S. Goldstein, M.D., Ph.D., shows that the disease also causes widespread damage to the sympathetic nervous system, which controls blood pressure, pulse rate, and many other automatic responses to stress. The study also shows that this damage is unrelated to treatment with the most commonly used Parkinson's drug, levodopa, and may lead to new approaches to identifying the cause of the disease. The study appears in the April 23, 2002, issue of Neurology.
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Parkinsonian Symptoms Decrease in Rats Given Stem Cell Transplants
Wednesday, Jan 9, 2002
A new study shows that mouse embryonic stem cells transplanted into rats with brain damage resembling Parkinson's disease spontaneously acquire many of the features of dopamine-producing neurons. Animals that received the transplants showed a gradual reduction in their parkinsonian symptoms, and brain scans revealed evidence that the transplanted cells integrated with the surrounding area and began to produce dopamine. The findings raise the possibility that embryonic stem cell transplants may one day be useful in treating Parkinson's disease and other brain disorders.
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Immunotherapy Treatment Shows Dramatic Results for Rare Neurological Disorder
Wednesday, Dec 26, 2001
An immunologic therapy, intravenous immunoglobulin (IVIg), administered to patients suffering from stiff person syndrome (SPS), provides dramatic relief from disabling symptoms, according to a study appearing in the December 27, 2001, issue of The New England Journal of Medicine.* The study's principal author, Marinos C. Dalakas, M.D., chief of the Neuromuscular Diseases Section of the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke, says that the success of the treatment supports the theory that SPS is the result of an autoimmune response gone awry in the brain and spinal cord.

Researchers Find Genetic Links for Late-Onset Parkinson's Disease
Wednesday, Dec 19, 2001
Recent studies provide strong evidence that genetic factors influence susceptibility to the common, late-onset form of Parkinson's disease (PD). The findings improve scientists' understanding of how PD develops and may lead to new treatments or even ways of preventing the disease.
Fact Sheet

Turning Blood into Brain: New Studies Suggest Bone Marrow Stem Cells Can Develop into Neurons in Living Animals
Thursday, Nov 30, 2000
For years, researchers studying stem cells have been intrigued by the possibility that these cells might be used to treat brain diseases. Recent studies have suggested that neural stem cells transplanted into the brain can migrate throughout the brain and develop into other types of cells. Now, two new studies show that bone marrow cells transplanted into mice can migrate into the brain and develop into cells that appear to be neurons. The studies suggest that bone marrow may be a readily available source of neural cells with potential for treating such neurological disorders as Parkinson's disease and traumatic brain injury.

NIH Grantees Awarded Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine for Brain Research
Monday, Oct 9, 2000
Long-time National Institutes of Health grantees Dr. Eric R. Kandel and Dr. Paul Greengard were awarded the 2000 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine for their discoveries in signal transduction in the nervous system. Together their work has improved treatments for Parkinson's disease, schizophrenia, and depression and holds promise for the improvement of memory in various types of dementia.

Parkinson's Disease Is More Than a Brain Disorder
Monday, Sep 4, 2000
For many years, researchers have known that the movement problems associated with Parkinson's disease result from a loss of neurons that produce a nerve-signaling chemical called dopamine in one part of the brain. A new study suggests that Parkinson's disease (PD) also affects nerve endings that produce a related chemical, norepinephrine, in the heart. The finding improves understanding about how Parkinson's disease develops and may lead to a way of predicting the disorder and possibly even preventing it.
Fact Sheet

NINDS Hosts First Parkinson's Disease Implementation Committee Meeting to Establish Priorities for Parkinson's Research
Monday, Jul 31, 2000
The first meeting of the NINDS Parkinson's Disease Implementation Committee (PDIC) was held July 31, 2000 at the National Institutes of Health, Neuroscience Center in Rockville, Maryland. The Committee identified several areas of Parkinson's disease research that will receive the highest priority in the coming weeks, including clinical trials and gene research.

Clinical Expert Dr. Guy McKhann Joins NINDS Research Planning Effort: Will Coordinate InstitutE'Ss Clinical Research Programs
Thursday, May 25, 2000
National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS) director Gerald D. Fischbach, M.D., today announced that Guy McKhann, M.D., will serve as Associate Director for Clinical Research for the Institute. Dr. McKhann is former chairman of The Johns Hopkins University Department of Neurology and founding director of the university's Mind/Brain Institute.

NINDS Funds Five Specialized Neuroscience Programs at Minority Institutions
Tuesday, Jan 18, 2000
The National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS), in collaboration with the National Center for Research Resources (NCRR) and the Office for Research on Minority Health (ORMH), recently awarded grants to five minority institutions under a new funding mechanism called Specialized Neuroscience Research Programs at Minority Institutions (SNRP).

NINDS to Support Eight New Parkinson's Disease Research Centers of Excellence
Tuesday, Sep 28, 1999
As part of its efforts to defeat Parkinson's disease, the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS) today announced plans to award new grants to eight top universities. The new awards will raise to eleven the number of Parkinson's Disease Research Centers of Excellence the Institute funds and represent a total commitment of $49 million to be spent over the next 5 years. Added to the $24 million committed to three such centers in September of 1998, this brings total Institute funding for the Parkinson's Disease Research Centers of Excellence program to $73 million.

Transplanted Neural Stem Cells Migrate Throughout the Abnormal Brain, Reduce Disease Symptoms
Monday, Jun 7, 1999
For years, researchers have probed the mysteries of neural stem cells -- immature cells that can differentiate into all the cell types that make up the brain -- with the idea that they might be useful for treating brain disorders such as Parkinson's disease. Important new animal research now suggests that these cells may be effective in treating a much broader array of brain diseases than previously anticipated, including Alzheimer's disease and many childhood brain disorders.

Fetal Cell Therapy Benefits Some Parkinson's Patients: First Controlled Clinical Trial Shows Mixed Results
Wednesday, Apr 21, 1999
Results from the first randomized, controlled clinical trial of fetal dopamine cell implants for Parkinson's disease show that the surgery helped a small number of Parkinson's patients, but not all who underwent the experimental therapy. These results raise important questions in the search for improved treatments for Parkinson's disease.

Genetics Not Significant to Developing Typical Parkinson's Disease
Tuesday, Jan 26, 1999
Genetic factors do not play a significant role in causing the most common form of Parkinson's disease (PD), according to a study to be published in the January 27, 1999 issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association. This epidemiological study, the largest of its kind to investigate the role of genetic or environmental causes of PD, examined 19,842 white male twins enrolled in a large registry of World War II veteran twins.

NINDS Awards Almost $24 Million to Support Parkinson's Disease Research Centers of Excellence
Friday, Dec 4, 1998
Three top university hospitals will receive a total of almost $24 million from the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS) to advance understanding of Parkinson's disease and related movement disorders. Investigators at Emory University, Massachusetts General Hospital, and The Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine will spend the next five years unraveling the cause or causes of Parkinson's disease and seeking new ways to diagnose and treat it. They will also provide state-of-the-art, multidisciplinary training for young scientists preparing for research careers investigating Parkinson's disease and related neurodegenerative disorders.

Cultured Neural Stem Cells Reduce Symptoms in Model of Parkinson's Disease
Monday, Jul 20, 1998
For decades, researchers have imagined treating human diseases by replacing damaged cells with stem cells - embryonic cells from which all other kinds of cells develop. While the potential benefits are enormous, such strategies have been limited by an uncertain supply of stem cells. Now, scientists have shown that neural stem cells can be multiplied and raised to maturity in the laboratory and that these cells can greatly reduce symptoms in an animal model of Parkinson's disease.

Gene Locus Found for Essential Tremor Disorder
Friday, Nov 7, 1997
Researchers from the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke have located a gene locus responsible for the most common human movement disorder, essential tremor (ET). In an article in the November 1997 issue of Movement Disorders, Joseph J. Higgins, M.D., Lana T. Pho, and Linda E. Nee, M.S.W., report how they traced the gene to the short arm of chromosome 2.

Gene Sequenced for Disabling Childhood Movement Disorder: Early-Onset Torsion Dystonia Protein Found
Wednesday, Sep 3, 1997
Scientists have sequenced the gene responsible for early-onset torsion dystonia and have found a new class of proteins that may provide insight into all of the dystonia disorders. The discovery of the gene will make diagnosis of early-onset torsion dystonia easier and allow scientists to investigate other factors that might contribute to the disease.

Scientists Gain New Understanding of CNS Stem Cells: Findings May Lead to Improved Treatments for Parkinson's Disease, Other Disorders
Thursday, Apr 3, 1997
For decades, scientists believed that the adult central nervous system could not repair itself, in part because it lacked fundamental 'stem cells', mother cells that can divide to form other kinds of cells. A series of findings has now shown that stem cells are present in the adult brain and spinal cord, and that they can be grown in culture and directed to act in much the same way as fetal stem cells. These findings provide new hope for people with Parkinson's disease, spinal cord injury, and a host of other disorders.

Scientists Locate Parkinson's Gene
Thursday, Nov 14, 1996
For the first time, scientists have pinpointed the location of a gene they believe is responsible for some cases of Parkinson's disease. Their discovery provides strong evidence that a genetic alteration is capable of causing the disease. The study, published in the November 15 issue of Science,1 sheds light on the mysterious origins of this devastating neurological disease that affects about 500,000 Americans.

New Drug Prolongs Symptom Relief in Parkinson's Disease
Thursday, Apr 29, 1993
A new drug, when added to standard treatment for Parkinson's disease, prolongs relief of symptoms by more than 60 percent, report scientists from the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS). In announcing their findings today at the annual meeting of the American Academy of Neurology in New York,* scientists said that the drug, called R0 40-7592, could help overcome drawbacks of current drug treatment.

NINDS Hails Discovery of Gene for Familial ALS
Wednesday, Mar 3, 1993
Officials at the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS) hailed the identification of a gene associated with the familial form of ALS (Lou Gehrig's disease). "This discovery is extremely important because it marks the first identification of a specific gene for a neurodegenerative disease of adult life," said Carl M. Leventhal, M.D., director of the NINDS program that contributed to support for the research reported in the March 3 issue of Nature*. "It also suggests a likely mechanism for the damage to nerve cells in familial ALS and, possibly, other brain disorders."

DATATOP Study Confirms Deprenyl's Efficacy in Fighting the Progression of Parkinson's Disease
Wednesday, Jan 20, 1993
Scientists announced today in the January 21 New England Journal of Medicine the results of a broad, long-term study on the effects of deprenyl and tocopherol (a form of vitamin E) on the progression of early Parkinson's disease. The investigators, who comprise a group known as the Parkinson's Study Group, confirmed that deprenyl is effective in slowing the early progression of Parkinson's disease and delaying the need for initiation of therapy with the drug levodopa. The latest results of the study showed, however, that the beneficial effects of deprenyl were not as lasting in fighting Parkinson's disease as the investigators had anticipated when evaluating the preliminary results in 1989. The clinical trials also showed no evidence that tocopherol was useful in Parkinson's disease.

Study Detects Brain Virus in HIV-Positive Patients
Tuesday, May 5, 1992
Scientists at the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS) have identified a potentially fatal virus in the bloodstream in half of a small group of HIV-positive patients without neurological symptoms, they announced today at the annual meeting of the American Academy of Neurology in San Diego.

Newly developed electrode records neurotransmitter release from a single cell
Monday, Jun 17, 1991
Scientists supported by the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS) have invented a tiny, ultra-sensitive electrode that can record, for the first time, the millionths-of-a-second-long burst of catecholamine molecules as they erupt from the surface of a single cell. Catecholamines are used by some cells as neurotransmitters, or molecules that allow nerve cells to communicate between themselves and with other kinds of cells.

Mounting knowledge of Parkinson's disease leads to new treatment theories
Thursday, Dec 6, 1990
Animal studies have revealed new knowledge of brain chemistry in Parkinson's disease and suggest new treatment approaches, according to results published in the December 7, 1990 issue of Science.*