What Do Parkinson’s, Red Hair and Melanoma Have in Common?

Researchers at Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH) have found that mice with MC1R, the gene that is responsible for red hair, are more susceptible to toxins that are damaging to neurons in substantia nigra, i.e. the part of the brain where neurons are destroyed in Parkinson’s patients.

MC1R is also correlated with increased risk for melanoma, with this study further emphasizing the melanoma and parkinson’s disease link.

This study opens the door for future studies around therapies and treatments that target MC1R, which could end up alleviating Parkinson’s Disease symptoms. Additionally, this discovery may help to guide MC1R carriers to seek the correct medical advice from dermatologists and neurologists that deal with melanoma and parkinson’s disease respectively.

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