Research Suggests New Suspect for Parkinson’s Disease Treatment

Doctors from the Colorado University School of Medicine recently conducted research indicating that an exercise protein could help prevent the onset of Parkinson’s disease symptoms.

Parkinson’s disease is a rare central nervous system disorder that affects movement in the body. It gets worse and worse over time, and currently, there is no approved pharmacology that can treat or cure Parkinson’s. Read more about it here.

The disease is caused by the accumulation of mutated molecules that form harmful clumps of protein, called Lewy bodies, in patients’ brains. However, the protein that these researchers studied, known as DJ-1, is a brain-protecting molecule.
They found that DJ-1 plays a role in preventing Lewy bodies from forming because humans with a DJ-1 mutation are nearly guaranteed to develop Parkinson’s early on. Furthermore, the production of DJ-1 can actually be increased by vigorous exercise, implying that exercise can slow the progression of Parkinson’s disease.
This finding shows biologically how exercise can help patients, but most excitingly, it also paves the way for future treatment development through targeting DJ-1.
Lastly, this potential treatment could do more than just help with the physical degeneration from Parkinson’s; it could also help with memory improvement, which is something that hasn’t ever been found before.

Even though this research is extremely promising, the study was only conducted in mice, so it doesn’t prove there is an effect on the underlying pathology of Parkinson’s.

However, it does prove that DJ-1 and exercise do deserve deeper level, human investigation in future trials, and it does make us one step closer to finding a cure.

To read more about this study, click here.

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